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Chums : a tale of the Queen's Navy

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L I B R.ARY<br />

OF THE<br />

UN IVERSITY<br />

or ILLINOIS<br />

823<br />

C47/Z<br />

M.Z


CHUMS.


CHUMS:<br />

§. Cale <strong>of</strong> thj ^tteen's ^nb^.<br />

IN THREE VOLVMES<br />

VOL. II.<br />

LONDON<br />

TINSLEY BROTHERS, 8, CATHERINE STREET, STRAND.<br />

18S2.<br />

[All Eights Beservecl]<br />

:


Printed hy Kelly & Co., London & Kingston.


823<br />

v,^<br />

CHUMS:<br />

A TALE OF THE QUEEN'S NAVY.<br />

CHAPTEE I.<br />

^^|lBRALTAE once more, or some-<br />

^ where near it.<br />

St. Eoque is a town <strong>of</strong> Andalusia,<br />

situated about six miles from <strong>the</strong> Eock,<br />

and thi<strong>the</strong>r, on this Sunday afternoon,<br />

are flocking <strong>the</strong> inhabitants <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> country<br />

for twenty miles round. There we shall<br />

see most <strong>of</strong> our friends <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> " living<br />

stream " at <strong>the</strong> big gates. Every animal<br />

and every conveyance is on <strong>the</strong> move<br />

towards <strong>the</strong> same place, <strong>the</strong> " Plaz de<br />

Toros de San Eoque." Old men and chil-<br />

dren, young men and maidens, all rush<br />

<strong>of</strong>f to <strong>the</strong> bull-fight, except, perhaps,<br />

some few inhabitants <strong>of</strong> Gib, who are<br />

VOL. II. R


<strong>Chums</strong><br />

averse to Sunday recreation. There will<br />

<strong>the</strong> head <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong> Lawrences enjoy his<br />

pipe, and believe that he is giving Mary<br />

and Maggie a great treat, never imagining<br />

that <strong>the</strong>re could exist anyone so s<strong>of</strong>t as<br />

to object to watching <strong>the</strong> butchery.<br />

Mr. Lawrence has not been actually<br />

drunk for several days. Mary's engage-<br />

ment at <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>atre is just over, and her<br />

salary was paid this morning. Tliis treat<br />

is <strong>the</strong> result <strong>the</strong>re<strong>of</strong>. To-morrow <strong>the</strong>y<br />

are to sail for Southampton.<br />

A programme <strong>of</strong> about <strong>the</strong> right number<br />

<strong>of</strong> years ago tells us that boxes are thirty<br />

reals, sillones (arm-chairs) are seven reals.<br />

"Entrada di Ombra :" Admission, that is,<br />

to <strong>the</strong> shady side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> enclosure, is three<br />

reals, and to <strong>the</strong> sunny side two reals, <strong>the</strong><br />

shady and sunny ones seating <strong>the</strong>mselves as<br />

best <strong>the</strong>y can. It is probable that <strong>the</strong>re<br />

were some shady ones on <strong>the</strong> sunny side.<br />

Lawrence had fully persuaded himself<br />

that he, and lie alone, had provided <strong>the</strong><br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> .<strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>.<br />

requisite coin for <strong>the</strong> day's outing, and<br />

had evidently determined to be lavish <strong>of</strong><br />

it. They put up <strong>the</strong> horse and trap<br />

which he had hired for <strong>the</strong> day, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

paid <strong>the</strong>ir money, and took <strong>the</strong>ir seats<br />

in <strong>the</strong> shaded arm-chairs. The Plaz is<br />

a large, substantial building, capable <strong>of</strong><br />

holding several thousand people, and on<br />

this particular Sunday it was fairly full.<br />

Bull-fights only take place once, or per-<br />

haps twice a year at San Eoque ; <strong>the</strong><br />

same at Alwsiras.<br />

Punctually at four p.m. <strong>the</strong> performance<br />

commenced with a walk round by mata-<br />

dores, picadores, capiadores, and goodness<br />

knows how many more Inghly-niettled<br />

ores. Picturesque beggars <strong>the</strong>y looked, too,<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y rode or marched past <strong>the</strong> box in<br />

which <strong>the</strong> o-overnor <strong>of</strong> Alc^esiras and <strong>the</strong><br />

alcalde <strong>of</strong> St. Eoque were seated.<br />

After <strong>the</strong> procession, all retire from <strong>the</strong><br />

arena, except <strong>the</strong> picadores, six in num-<br />

ber, who draw up <strong>the</strong>ir horses on each<br />

b2


<strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> door by which <strong>the</strong> bull is to<br />

enter, and which an understrapper—who,<br />

judging from his mysterious swagger, is<br />

probably a Spanish count in straitened circumstances—now<br />

approaches, and awaits<br />

<strong>the</strong> alcalde's signal to open.<br />

The signal is given ; <strong>the</strong> bolts are with-<br />

drawn, and <strong>the</strong> doors flung back by <strong>the</strong><br />

man <strong>of</strong> disguised nobility, who, without<br />

pausing to dissemble, retires quickly behind<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> places <strong>of</strong> refuge<br />

—<br />

i.e., boarding<br />

erected against <strong>the</strong> walls <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> arena, allow-<br />

ing room for a couple <strong>of</strong> men to hide behind<br />

<strong>the</strong>m in perfect safety—and <strong>the</strong> bull is free<br />

to enter as soon, and in such manner, as his<br />

roving fancy may dictate. Short is <strong>the</strong><br />

pause that follows ; and we can imagine<br />

<strong>the</strong> bull—furious and impatient at <strong>the</strong><br />

noises which, for <strong>the</strong> last hour or more,<br />

have kept him wakeful and restless— staring<br />

astonished at <strong>the</strong> open space suddenly<br />

spread before him. Only for a few seconds<br />

does he pause ; <strong>the</strong>n, with a bellow, he


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>.<br />

rushes madly into <strong>the</strong> centre <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> arena.<br />

Arrived <strong>the</strong>re, he stops suddenly, angry<br />

and uncertain ;<br />

and, throwing his head al<strong>of</strong>t<br />

once or twice with short, quick jerks, he<br />

paws <strong>the</strong> sand, glaring fiercely from one to<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> picadores, who motionlessly<br />

sit <strong>the</strong>ir horses, awaiting his onset. Pre-<br />

ceded by a defiant snort, bravely and<br />

grandly it comes ; and <strong>the</strong> few who have to<br />

bear <strong>the</strong> brunt—horses, men, and spears,<br />

equally powerless to withstand <strong>the</strong> terrific<br />

rush— are rolled over in <strong>the</strong> sand. With-<br />

out stopping, he endeavours to tear along<br />

on his mad course, but its force is soon<br />

spent, and <strong>the</strong> remaining picadores thrust<br />

him <strong>of</strong>f with <strong>the</strong>ir spears until lie is at a<br />

standstill once more, bleeding pr<strong>of</strong>usely,<br />

and breathing heavily, though fiercely as<br />

ever. Strus^glino^ to <strong>the</strong>ir feet as well as<br />

<strong>the</strong>y can with legs encased almost to tlie<br />

thighs in armour plating, <strong>the</strong> fallen pica-<br />

dores ei<strong>the</strong>r remount <strong>the</strong>ir horses in <strong>the</strong><br />

arena, or if unable to do that, are led or


aturns<br />

dragged outside, <strong>the</strong>ir comrades keeping<br />

<strong>the</strong> bull ill play and endeavouring to pre-<br />

vent his reaching and goring <strong>the</strong>m during<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir retreat. Now, too, <strong>the</strong> refuges are<br />

useful, and <strong>the</strong> thud <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bull's horns<br />

against <strong>the</strong> boards, scarce a second after a<br />

man had crawled behind <strong>the</strong>m, leaves little<br />

doubt as to what would have been <strong>the</strong><br />

result, had animal instead <strong>of</strong> vegetable<br />

been <strong>the</strong> opposing substance. However,<br />

one does not care much for <strong>the</strong> men, and<br />

one feels ra<strong>the</strong>r pleased than o<strong>the</strong>rwise to<br />

see a picadore hurt. Nearly all one's sym-<br />

pathy is for <strong>the</strong> horses. They, poor<br />

devils, are old, scraggy, and fit only for <strong>the</strong><br />

knacker's yard. With one eye blindfolded,<br />

so that <strong>the</strong>y may not see what <strong>the</strong>y are<br />

being spurred to encounter ; gored by <strong>the</strong><br />

bull, thrashed by <strong>the</strong>ir riders—<strong>the</strong> bold<br />

picador es—and ruthlessly kept going, until<br />

bleeding, torn, and half disembowelled, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

at length succumb altoge<strong>the</strong>r, and are<br />

dragged out amidst <strong>the</strong> bravos <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> de-<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>.<br />

— ;<br />

lighted Spaniards. No; one does not care<br />

much for <strong>the</strong> men. The ' cloak men '<br />

I forget <strong>the</strong> proper name for <strong>the</strong>m —remain<br />

almost constantly in <strong>the</strong> arena, armed, only<br />

with coloured mantles, which <strong>the</strong>y use to<br />

keep up <strong>the</strong> bull's anger and excitement<br />

flickering <strong>the</strong>m playfully across his eyes,<br />

or throwing <strong>the</strong>m over his horns and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

hiding <strong>the</strong>mselves in <strong>the</strong> refuges, taking<br />

care always that <strong>the</strong> bull is close at <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

heels when <strong>the</strong>y disappear. The closer <strong>the</strong><br />

shave, <strong>the</strong> greater <strong>the</strong> excitement, and we<br />

entirely go to <strong>the</strong> bull fight for excitement,<br />

although we probably leave it in disgust.<br />

Ano<strong>the</strong>r breed <strong>of</strong> sportsmen now appears,<br />

whose instruments <strong>of</strong> torture are long<br />

darts, gaily decorated with many-coloured<br />

streamers, and which, when stuck some<br />

inches into his flesh, are calculated to<br />

cause <strong>the</strong> bull considerable annoyance and<br />

irritation. Ingenious Spaniard ! Cunning<br />

tormentors !<br />

These last arrivals take <strong>the</strong>ir stand di-


<strong>Chums</strong><br />

rectly in front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bull, and when lie<br />

makes his rush, stepping quickly on one<br />

side, <strong>the</strong>y stick <strong>the</strong>ir darts in behind his<br />

horns. This is undoubtedly dangerous<br />

work, and a good dartman,. one who can<br />

stick both his darts well in, is rapturously<br />

applauded. It looks an easy thing to do,<br />

and, about this part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> entertainment,<br />

<strong>the</strong> alcalde is pestered by men and boys<br />

eager to try <strong>the</strong>ir hands at it. About this<br />

time, too, <strong>the</strong> ordinary Englishman begins<br />

to long for a sight <strong>of</strong> human blood<br />

:<br />

—<br />

Spanish<br />

blood ; <strong>the</strong> blood <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> noble swells <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> arena. Needless to say, his longing is<br />

rarely gratified. It is not in <strong>the</strong> " noble<br />

swells" programme.<br />

But now commences <strong>the</strong> last scene.<br />

Enter matador armed with dagger. Lively<br />

music by <strong>the</strong> band, and <strong>the</strong> fun gets fast<br />

and furious. With darts and cloaks <strong>the</strong><br />

wretched bull is tickled and flicked until<br />

he rushes and stao-o-ers about <strong>the</strong> arena,<br />

bellowing with rage and pain.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 9<br />

Now is <strong>the</strong> time for <strong>the</strong> jyas de deux (1) ;<br />

<strong>the</strong><br />

bull seems to know it as well as <strong>the</strong> mata-<br />

dor, and a grand sight it is to see <strong>the</strong> noble<br />

brute—<strong>the</strong> hidl I mean— in <strong>the</strong>se last few<br />

moments <strong>of</strong> his life, shaking <strong>of</strong>f all giddiness<br />

and fatigue, stand erect, bleeding at every<br />

pore, and, with a hoarse, gurgling bellow,<br />

rush furiously upon his intended slayer.<br />

Quickly as he plunges forward, <strong>the</strong> mata-<br />

dor springs to meet him, and, as <strong>the</strong> bull's<br />

head and neck are lowered in readiness<br />

for <strong>the</strong> toss, <strong>the</strong> dagger <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> matador<br />

enters to its hilt, and <strong>the</strong> final act is over<br />

for <strong>the</strong> bull number one.<br />

Five more bulls are to fall to <strong>the</strong> dao's^er<br />

this Sunday afternoon, each victim afford-<br />

ing twenty minutes <strong>of</strong> brisk and cheery<br />

sport. Much <strong>the</strong> same performance is gone<br />

through with each ; one particularly healthy<br />

animal, who succeeded in scoring six horses<br />

— ^all lying dead in <strong>the</strong> arena at <strong>the</strong> same<br />

time—coming in for quite an ovation<br />

(Spanish).<br />


10 Churns<br />

Having taken this glimpse <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> light<br />

recreation <strong>the</strong> Lawrences have to enjoy,<br />

we will watch <strong>the</strong>m in <strong>the</strong>ir stalls. I<br />

shonld explain that it had been decided<br />

before Monkton left Gibraltar that little<br />

Maggie was to take <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> Lawrence,<br />

and was to be treated as Mary's sister<br />

an arrangement with which <strong>the</strong> child was<br />

delighted; but she still called her adopted<br />

sister by <strong>the</strong> old name, " Mammy."<br />

When first <strong>the</strong>y entered <strong>the</strong> Plaza,<br />

she was in a great state <strong>of</strong> excitement,<br />

and persisted in asking questions <strong>of</strong> both<br />

Mr. Lawrence and Mar}^ until requested<br />

by <strong>the</strong> former to hold her tongue and<br />

not make a row ; after which rebuff she<br />

and Mary had conversed in wdiispers<br />

until bull number one rushed into <strong>the</strong><br />

arena.<br />

Maggie had watched <strong>the</strong> procession <strong>of</strong><br />

performers delightedly, but <strong>the</strong> bull fairly<br />

friorhtened her.<br />

" Oh mammy ! mammy<br />

! <strong>the</strong> tow ! <strong>the</strong><br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 1<br />

tow ! it's lookin' at me," she cried, and clung<br />

to Mary, hiding her face in terror. "Are<br />

dey going to kill it?" she asked in an<br />

awe-stricken whisper.<br />

Mary had been greatly averse to bring-<br />

ing <strong>the</strong> child and, indeed, to coming herself,<br />

but Lawrence had said that he'd have no<br />

affected nonsense ; lots <strong>of</strong> women went<br />

and enjoyed it, he said, and so would <strong>the</strong>y,<br />

when <strong>the</strong>y got over <strong>the</strong> first squeamishness.<br />

Exceedingly sorry that she had not, just<br />

for <strong>the</strong> once, been firm with her fa<strong>the</strong>r<br />

and refused to come, Mary now took <strong>the</strong><br />

little one on her knees, persuading her to<br />

close her eyes, and endeavouring to keep<br />

her quiet by little inventions <strong>of</strong> her own<br />

about what was passing in <strong>the</strong> arena.<br />

" There ; now <strong>the</strong>y are taking <strong>the</strong> great<br />

cow away," she said at last, with a sigh <strong>of</strong><br />

relief, as <strong>the</strong> dead animal was dragged out.<br />

" I s'pose dey's going to milk it," remarked<br />

Maggie, opening her eyes and looking<br />

nervously at <strong>the</strong> arena, from which nearly<br />

1


1 2 Churm<br />

all evidences <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> recent fight had been<br />

removed.<br />

" Very hlsiely, dear," replied that estim-<br />

able but slightly inaccurate young lady.<br />

"Do dead tows give us milt, mammy?"<br />

" Oh, no dear," said Mary, with convic-<br />

tion.<br />

"Do you think, mammy, that <strong>the</strong>y milted<br />

that one first ? " asked Maggie, eagerly.<br />

" No, I don't think <strong>the</strong>y milked that one,<br />

dear," was <strong>the</strong> safe reply.<br />

"Betos you know, mammy, to-mollow's<br />

my bread-and-milt morning." This reflec-<br />

tion evidently caused Maggie great uneasi-<br />

ness, she being doubtful as to whe<strong>the</strong>r milk<br />

would be forthcoming for her favourite<br />

meal. At any rate, she asked no more<br />

questions, and very soon, frightened by <strong>the</strong><br />

bellow <strong>of</strong> bull number two, she again hid<br />

her face against Mary.<br />

Towards <strong>the</strong> close <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> second act, Jim<br />

Lawrence, grown somewhat tired <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

performance and thinking it a long time


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 13<br />

between <strong>the</strong> drinks, turned lazily round to<br />

g(3rutinise his neighbours in <strong>the</strong> stalls, and<br />

see if any amongst <strong>the</strong>m looked at all like<br />

•' standing " one. His thirst is quickly for-<br />

gotten, his attention suddenly attracted by<br />

a young woman who is staring intently at<br />

Mary, or ra<strong>the</strong>r—as he afterwards discovers<br />

— at <strong>the</strong> child on her lap. She was not<br />

more than a dozen seats away, and almost<br />

immediately after he had observed her eager<br />

look, Maggie moved slightly, and exposed<br />

more <strong>of</strong> her face than before. The woman<br />

could see her distinctly now, and, reaching<br />

forward with outstretched arms, she was<br />

rising from her seat when, turning suddenly<br />

pale and drawing both hands quickly to her<br />

heart, she sank back against <strong>the</strong> stall, <strong>the</strong>n<br />

fell forward upon <strong>the</strong> ground in a swoon.<br />

One or two <strong>of</strong> her neighbours felt it<br />

incumbent upon <strong>the</strong>m to render assistance,<br />

but evidently considered her a nuisance.<br />

Not so, thought Mr. Jim Lawrence however;<br />

he had scented a good thing, <strong>the</strong> moment


14 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

he saw her eyes fixed upon Maggie, and<br />

telling his eldest daughter that he should<br />

not be away long, he hurried to <strong>the</strong><br />

entrance, whi<strong>the</strong>r a couple <strong>of</strong> men were con-<br />

veying <strong>the</strong> insensible woman. He was <strong>the</strong><br />

only o<strong>the</strong>r man who had taken <strong>the</strong> trouble<br />

to interest himself in her, and he soon dis-<br />

covered that <strong>the</strong>y were store-keepers <strong>of</strong><br />

Gibraltar, and both able to speak English<br />

—<br />

by no means a recommendation in his eyes<br />

now ;<br />

so telling <strong>the</strong>m that he was a medical<br />

man, and would do all that was necessary,<br />

he added that it was quite useless for <strong>the</strong>m<br />

to lose any more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> entertainment.<br />

The rock scorpions, nothing loath to re-<br />

turn to <strong>the</strong>ir hardly-paid-for stalls, assisted<br />

him to get her into one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many go-<br />

carts in waiting, and <strong>the</strong>n rushed back to<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir well beloved " Toros." Telling <strong>the</strong><br />

Jehu to drive as quickly as possible to <strong>the</strong><br />

only hotel in <strong>the</strong> place, kept by an English-<br />

man, Lawrence proceeded to make a<br />

mental diagnosis <strong>of</strong> his patient. She was


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 1<br />

young—apparently not more than twenty-<br />

five, good looking, but made up consider-<br />

ably, and fast even to looseness. Her dress<br />

was fairly good, and she looked ladylike.<br />

Mr. Lawrence rubbed his hands.<br />

" Several likely points," he muttered. " We<br />

shall soon see whe<strong>the</strong>r old Jim is on <strong>the</strong><br />

rigrht scent. Wears a weddino- rino- tho'<br />

Ah !<br />

<strong>the</strong>y all do that. I w^onder she hasn't<br />

taken to widow's weeds ; that's <strong>the</strong> last<br />

innocent deception. Street widows ! ha, ha !<br />

wedded to <strong>the</strong> pavement, dying in <strong>the</strong><br />

gutter ;<br />

how" will you like that, my lady?"<br />

5!


CHAFTEE 11.<br />

^^pEElVED at <strong>the</strong> hotel, he inter-<br />

^^]^|fc viewed its Enghsh proprietor,<br />

explained <strong>the</strong> case in very few<br />

words, and, taking a room for his ]3a-<br />

tient, had her carried np to it at once,<br />

and engaged a Spanish maid <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> house<br />

to remain and assist him.<br />

Toge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y laid her on <strong>the</strong> bed,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>n, safe from all English-speaking<br />

intruders, our man <strong>of</strong> medicine—he had<br />

once during his vagabond existence been<br />

an assistant sick-berth attendant on<br />

board a man-<strong>of</strong>-war—brought all his<br />

science into play, to restore <strong>the</strong> woman<br />

to consciousness. Her swoon still con-<br />

tinued, he grew nervous, and had almost<br />

decided upon retiring as gracefully as


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong>- <strong>Navy</strong>. 17<br />

might be, and leaving <strong>the</strong> field in<br />

possession <strong>of</strong> a real practitioner, when she<br />

moved slightly and appeared to be slowly<br />

regaining consciousness. After a few un-<br />

easy movements she spoke in a feeble,<br />

agitated voice. " My God " ! she mut-<br />

tered. " It is not possible. Dressed like<br />

that ! Looking happy with that—that<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r woman!—not dead!—not dead—<br />

but, I say, I killed her !<br />

" speaking<br />

louder and more wildly. " She has belonged<br />

ha !<br />

to me ; I had <strong>the</strong><br />

A mo<strong>the</strong>r's right ;<br />

right.<br />

and<br />

Oh !<br />

I—<br />

killed her." She almost whispered<br />

<strong>the</strong> last words, <strong>the</strong>n murmured on,<br />

more indistinctly, " It could only have<br />

been a dream ! my old dream again.<br />

Directly I sleep, <strong>the</strong> devil claims me."<br />

Lawrence was leaning over her, listen-<br />

ing intently; <strong>the</strong> maid, sitting on <strong>the</strong><br />

foot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bed, glanced <strong>of</strong>ten towards<br />

<strong>the</strong> broken looking-glass. The woman<br />

soon spoke again. " It wasn't <strong>the</strong> drink<br />

VOL. II. c<br />

I


18 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

this time. How lona', old tempter ? how<br />

long ? " She remained quiet again for a<br />

few minutes, and Lawrence, satisfied that<br />

he had made no mistake ei<strong>the</strong>r in his<br />

doctoring or in his patient, resumed his<br />

restoration efforts.<br />

" But if it ivas her after all !<br />

" came<br />

clearly from tlie woman's lips, as she<br />

started up with eyes wide open, and<br />

staring intently as <strong>the</strong>y had in <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>atre.<br />

"I thought so!" she muttered, sink-<br />

ing back again upon <strong>the</strong> bed. " At<br />

your old tricks with me, are you ?'<br />

Fool that I am ;<br />

I might have known<br />

it.*' And giving a short, bitter laugh,,<br />

she asked in a hard, indifferent tone,<br />

'' Where am I ? " without oriving Mr.<br />

Lawrence, who was now standing at<br />

her side in an attitude indicative at<br />

once <strong>of</strong> natural dignity and pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

composure, time to reply, she continued,<br />

querulously, " Who may you be ? a devil-


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 19<br />

dodger ! or a sky-pilot, hunting up ma-<br />

terials for a new tract ; or what? " adding<br />

with a laugh, " Don't be angry, who-<br />

ever you are, old fellow."<br />

" ' It is not <strong>the</strong> cowl which makes<br />

<strong>the</strong> monk,' madam," replied <strong>the</strong> digni-<br />

fied doctor, in <strong>the</strong> slow, pompous tone<br />

which he considered befitted <strong>the</strong> occasion<br />

" and I am never angry with a— a — patient.<br />

I am a doctor <strong>of</strong> medicine."<br />

" You are a doctor !<br />

" she exclaimed,<br />

starting up again and speaking eagerly<br />

— ;<br />

imploringly. " Then, I am dying ! tell<br />

me ! I am dying, am I not ?— for pity's<br />

sake, let me die ; or doctor ! doctor ! see<br />

this and this. She dragged <strong>of</strong>f rings<br />

and watch and thrust <strong>the</strong>m into his<br />

hands. " They are yours ; all I have<br />

shall be yours ; only let me die." Then,<br />

hastily, she added, " it would not be<br />

wrong <strong>of</strong> you. I know that I am dying ;<br />

and all I say is, don't stop me ! You<br />

have no right to ; only let me die."<br />

c2


20 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

And she clutched his arm, and contmued<br />

again her desperate appeal. " Could<br />

you not—could you not kill me ? you<br />

are kind. It would be an act <strong>of</strong><br />

charity."<br />

" But who says you are dying ?<br />

asked Lawrence, anxiously ; quite startled<br />

out <strong>of</strong> all his pomposity. He had not<br />

made allowance for her possible death in<br />

his last hour's calculations ; besides, he<br />

was, in some slight degree, shocked at<br />

her vehemence. However, he quickly<br />

resumed his original role <strong>of</strong> sage phy-<br />

sician. " I trust that this is nothing<br />

serious, madam ; but, as we well know^<br />

' a small leak will sink a big ship,' and<br />

we must all be prepared for <strong>the</strong> great<br />

leveller, <strong>the</strong> grave ; so, if <strong>the</strong>re is any-<br />

thing that I can do in connection with<br />

your affairs, I shall be glad to act as<br />

your friend ; remembering that ' <strong>the</strong><br />

greatest medicine in life is a true<br />

friend.'<br />

"<br />

"


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 21<br />

'' Yes ! yes ! I know you all, and <strong>the</strong><br />

value <strong>of</strong> your truth and friendship. A<br />

woman, such as I am, understands you<br />

thoroughly; it is part <strong>of</strong> her pr<strong>of</strong>ession.<br />

Well, you shall have my story. The<br />

last dying speech and confession <strong>of</strong> Caro-<br />

line Armstrong," she cried, in a shrill<br />

news-boy's voice, jumping <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> bed.<br />

" Brandy, girl. Two brandies."<br />

Mr. Lawrence looked grave, but said<br />

nothing. Even as a medical man, he<br />

could not bring himself to forbid drinks,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> maid left <strong>the</strong> room.<br />

'' And so your name is Carohne Arm-<br />

strong, my dear young lady?" he said<br />

carelessly ; ra<strong>the</strong>r too carelessly for tlie<br />

woman, who answered sharply,<br />

" What does my name matter to you ?<br />

You will hear <strong>the</strong> only one by which I<br />

choose to be known, in my short but<br />

melancholy confession."<br />

" ' Confession <strong>of</strong> a fault makes half<br />

amends for it ;<br />

' ' confession is good for


22 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> soul,' my dear madam, as liquor is<br />

for <strong>the</strong> stomach," and <strong>the</strong> maid, having<br />

provided him with stimulant, <strong>the</strong> doctor<br />

gravely raised his glass, sipped its con-<br />

tents, removed it from his lips, smacked<br />

<strong>the</strong>m and bringing <strong>the</strong>m again into action,<br />

slowly and solemnly consumed <strong>the</strong> liquor;<br />

remarking that " Diet cures more than<br />

<strong>the</strong> doctor." More brandy having been<br />

ordered by <strong>the</strong> woman, she seated her-<br />

self on <strong>the</strong> foot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bed, and pro-<br />

ceeded to tell her story, in <strong>the</strong> bitter,<br />

mocking tone which seemed to be habitual<br />

to her. The room, with its bare floor<br />

and shabby furniture ; <strong>the</strong> strong liquor<br />

—primary cause <strong>of</strong> many a similar <strong>tale</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> ruin—and, lastly, <strong>the</strong> sole hearer an<br />

old hypocrite, acting a lie as he listened ;<br />

all <strong>the</strong> surroundings were in keeping with<br />

<strong>the</strong> last few years <strong>of</strong> her life, as she<br />

briefly related <strong>the</strong> way in which <strong>the</strong>y had<br />

been spent.<br />

" You are curious and inquisitive, old<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 23<br />

fellow. One can see that with half an<br />

eye," she commenced. " Well, here is news<br />

for you. My proper name is not Caroline<br />

Armstrong, although I choose to be called<br />

so. My right to be so called is just as<br />

much as belongs to any woman to bear<br />

<strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> man whose mistress she<br />

is—or was—no more. My own name I<br />

lost when' I lost myself— sold myself—for<br />

love. It's easy to imagine me simple and<br />

innocent, eh ? "<br />

Mr. Lawrence oave several thouo-htful<br />

nods, raised his eyes to heaven, and<br />

—decided to say nothing. Caroline Arm-<br />

strong, as we may now call her, con-<br />

tinued :<br />

—<br />

"You are religious, I suppose? Eun-<br />

ning what is called a godly race?"<br />

Mr. Ivawrence bowed ; he trusted so.<br />

" So was I once," she went on. " I was<br />

High Church, and fasted regularly. My<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r was a poor country lawyer, and a<br />

great admirer <strong>of</strong> my religious views. Ha,


24 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

ha ! Four years ago I met <strong>the</strong> man who<br />

was, for a time, my life and soul, as I<br />

was his ' sherry and bitters,' his ' dash <strong>of</strong><br />

brandy.'"<br />

She paused and looked at Lawrence, who<br />

was regarding his empty glass attentively.<br />

" Well, I quite understood <strong>the</strong> position,<br />

notwithstanding my simplicity. His people<br />

wished him to make a great match, he<br />

told me. He lied! I know it now. He<br />

was even <strong>the</strong>n engaged to a girl whom he<br />

could never love, but was being forced to<br />

marry. Ah, ha! He lied! Finally he<br />

told me that he loved me passionately,<br />

and that whe<strong>the</strong>r he married or remained<br />

single, I should be ever near him, ever<br />

loved by him. He lied ! God knows how<br />

he lied."<br />

She took ano<strong>the</strong>r sip <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> brandy,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n pushed her glass towards Lawrence,<br />

who sighed, nodded sympa<strong>the</strong>tically, raised<br />

his eyes towards heaven, and finished <strong>the</strong><br />

liquor.<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>.<br />

" Well," she continued again, drumming<br />

emphatically on <strong>the</strong> table ; "I<br />

had met<br />

him first at church, and many were our<br />

subsequent meetings <strong>the</strong>re ; but fasting<br />

and ritual could not save me, nei<strong>the</strong>r did<br />

I wish <strong>the</strong>m to. With my eyes open,<br />

knowing that I was not to be his wife,<br />

but not knowing how soon such men's love<br />

cools, I trusted him, and loved him. We<br />

w^ent abroad toge<strong>the</strong>r, and, not until after<br />

my baby was born did we have any dis-<br />

agreement. But <strong>the</strong>n it came. Never<br />

mind <strong>the</strong> cause, Old Curiosity. My posi-<br />

tion did not improve my moral tone, pro-<br />

bably ; besides, I was pretty, and fond<br />

<strong>of</strong> men's admiration, and he was a brute.<br />

I can call him that, and still love him.<br />

He hated <strong>the</strong> baby, and was tired <strong>of</strong> me,<br />

and I might go to <strong>the</strong> devil. And, with<br />

little compunction, I ivent ; or, at any rate,<br />

made a fresh start on my journey. On<br />

a lower stage this time ; money was <strong>the</strong><br />

object—not love. I soon found ano<strong>the</strong>r


26 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

protector, and ano<strong>the</strong>r ; each one givhig<br />

me <strong>the</strong> same parting advice, each one<br />

leaving me nearer <strong>the</strong> goal. My life for<br />

<strong>the</strong> next two years was what you call<br />

' gay.' Eeligious scruples did not bo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

me, and <strong>the</strong> baby was being well taken<br />

care <strong>of</strong>. But still—I had loved, and <strong>the</strong><br />

man lived ! Once more I was a fool.<br />

Hearing that he had come to Gibraltar,<br />

I took <strong>the</strong> child with me, and followed<br />

him."<br />

She stopped, and looked sharply at<br />

Lawrence. She fancied he had started<br />

when she said that <strong>the</strong> man had come to<br />

Gib, but it was evident that he had only<br />

moved to reach some more brandy, for<br />

he now slowly raised <strong>the</strong> glass to his lips ;<br />

and she continued, speaking with increased<br />

bitterness :<br />

—<br />

" They say that <strong>the</strong>re's no fool like an<br />

old fool. / say that <strong>the</strong>re's no fool—no<br />

such reckless, miserable fool—as a love-<br />

sick girl. What could I expect ? I went


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 27<br />

to see him—my sworn lover, Jack Arm-<br />

strong—on board his yacht, and—he would<br />

not recognise me. He wanted youth and<br />

freshness, he said, not rouge and powder.<br />

Curse him ! May he die—as I shall."<br />

Lawrence caught himself just com-<br />

mencing a nod <strong>of</strong> approval, but checked<br />

himself and said :<br />

—<br />

" Your narrative, my dear young lady,<br />

interests me as few things can now. Pray<br />

proceed."<br />

She turned upon him, suspiciously, not<br />

quite sure what to make <strong>of</strong> him yet, and<br />

spoke again, rapidly :<br />

—<br />

" One <strong>of</strong> his friends, an old chum <strong>of</strong><br />

mine—such a handsome fellow—had seen<br />

me, and would have let me stay with him,<br />

but for <strong>the</strong> child. What could I do ? I<br />

left her in <strong>the</strong> streets <strong>of</strong> Gibraltar—to die<br />

went back to see Jack Armstrono's friend,<br />

and tell him that I had sent her to Eng-<br />

land, and was free <strong>of</strong> that incumbrance,<br />

and found that he had left that morning<br />

;


28 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

for Madrid. Lost! A murderess! I came<br />

out here to drink, and try to kill my-<br />

self. And I shall succeed ; I feel it."<br />

She pressed her hands quickly to her<br />

heart, and looked triumphantly at Law-<br />

rence, as though challenging him to deny<br />

<strong>the</strong> nearness <strong>of</strong> her death.<br />

Her medical adviser denied nothing. " A<br />

sad <strong>tale</strong>," he said, meditatively ; " but <strong>the</strong><br />

child, dear madam? The poor innocent<br />

babe?"<br />

"Is dead!" almost shrieked <strong>the</strong> woman.<br />

" I told you. Dead.''<br />

'' Yes, yes, I know," said Lawrence, soothingly.<br />

" You— ah— you deserted her, as<br />

you say ; that does not necessarily prove<br />

that she died. Put <strong>the</strong> case hke this, dear<br />

madam. The child, helpless and unowned,<br />

is turned out to wander about <strong>the</strong> streets,<br />

and is intentionally lost ; but may not some<br />

benevolent, philanthropic person, striving<br />

to do his duty to liis neighbour whilst here<br />

below, have found that stray lamb, and<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 2 \)<br />

taking her in liis arms as I do this— ali^<br />

"<br />

this bottle—may he not have said<br />

The moral remark <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> supposed bene-<br />

volent philanthropic party will not appear<br />

in print, for Caroline Armstrong, wlio had<br />

been listening eagerly, now sprang up.<br />

" You have seen my child !" she cried.<br />

You saw her to-day with that -that o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

woman, and it was not ano<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> my mad<br />

dreams ! Tell me, doctor," she continued,<br />

more quietly, " you liave seen her ? Bring<br />

her to me." Again she grew violent, as<br />

Lawrence remained silent and unmoved.<br />

" Why don't you go ? You have hidden<br />

her away, or have lost her again. I believe<br />

you have stolen my child? By heavens !<br />

you grey-headed, maimed old rascal ; I'll<br />

have <strong>the</strong> law <strong>of</strong> you."<br />

She sprang towards him, but once mor(^<br />

excitement was too much for her, and,<br />

turning pale as death, she only had strength<br />

sufficient to totter blindly to <strong>the</strong> bed, and<br />

fall back upon it again.


30 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

Lawrence, shocked into action at last,<br />

saturated his handkerchief with brandy, and<br />

ba<strong>the</strong>d her face, forcing her also to swallow<br />

some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> spirit. With increased alarm,<br />

he noticed that his handkerchief, when he<br />

withdrew it from her lips, w^as marked with<br />

blood. Something had to be done, and<br />

quickly, unless he wished to bear <strong>the</strong> whole<br />

responsibility <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> woman's dangerous<br />

condition ; and, thorougldy frightened, he<br />

left <strong>the</strong> room, calling to <strong>the</strong> maid to<br />

remain with <strong>the</strong> lady whilst he went for<br />

assistance.<br />

Near <strong>the</strong> entrance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hotel he found<br />

Mary and Maggie — surrounded by <strong>the</strong><br />

usual crowd <strong>of</strong> Spanish vagabonds and<br />

loafers—endeavouring to obtain news <strong>of</strong><br />

him. He quickly told Mary all that he<br />

thought it necessary for her to know, and<br />

after sending <strong>of</strong>f for <strong>the</strong> nearest doctor, he<br />

put Maggie under <strong>the</strong> care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> hotel<br />

proprietor, and returned with his eldest<br />

daughter to <strong>the</strong> sick room.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 3<br />

There had been but very little change<br />

since his hurried departure. Caroline Arm-<br />

strong was still lying back upon <strong>the</strong><br />

bed, and <strong>the</strong> maid, leaning over her,<br />

occasionally wiped her lips with <strong>the</strong> hand-<br />

kerchief.<br />

The unfortunate woman moved restlessly<br />

as <strong>the</strong> two entered, and looked expectantly<br />

at Lawrence, but it was to Mary that she<br />

spoke first.<br />

" Where is she ? " she said, slowly, and<br />

with difficulty, but in tones as defiant as<br />

ever. " You have no right to her. I am<br />

her mo<strong>the</strong>r.''<br />

" She's coming very soon," said Mary,<br />

gently, dropping at once upon her knees at<br />

<strong>the</strong> bed side, and raising <strong>the</strong> sick woman's<br />

head until it rested against her bosom.<br />

" Do you feel prepared to see her almost<br />

immediately ? "<br />

" You talk like a child," said Caroline,<br />

peevishly. "Am I prepared, indeed ! Can-<br />

not you understand that my life—my sole<br />

1


32 Chu nis<br />

pleasure for years has been excitement ?<br />

For that, I have given up peace, and sold<br />

myself, body and soul! "<br />

Mary shuddered, and signed to her fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

who left <strong>the</strong> room.<br />

"Hush, hush!" she Avhispered to Caro-<br />

line. " Think <strong>of</strong> your child ; a mo<strong>the</strong>r's<br />

love should give you peace. Think "—and<br />

she bent her head lower—" think <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Giver <strong>of</strong> all Peace ; He<br />

will not refuse it you."<br />

"He give me peace," burst forth <strong>the</strong><br />

woman. " My child or my mo<strong>the</strong>r's love<br />

give me peace ! Let me go, you pretty<br />

innocent." And pushing Mary roughly<br />

aside, she sprang to <strong>the</strong> floor and seized <strong>the</strong><br />

nearly empty brandy bottle. " Here is<br />

my peace," she cried. " God's best gift<br />

Peace for <strong>the</strong> murderess ! Peace for <strong>the</strong><br />

lost! Oh, don't be afraid, Pm not going<br />

to drink any more. Am I not in a fit<br />

state to welcome my daughter, eh ?<br />

Poor Mary remained silent ; she felt that<br />

anything more she might say would be<br />

"<br />

!


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 83<br />

worse than useless ; and Caroline, looking<br />

anxiously towards <strong>the</strong> door, became quiet<br />

also.<br />

In a very few minutes Mr. Lawrence,<br />

leading Maggie, and followed by a Spanish<br />

doctor, entered <strong>the</strong> room.<br />

The wretched mo<strong>the</strong>r stepped hastily<br />

towards her child, but shrank back again,<br />

and stood leaning against <strong>the</strong> table for<br />

support, as Maggie, with a little cry <strong>of</strong><br />

delight, ran quickly past her to Mary. The<br />

latter stooped down, and placing both<br />

arms around <strong>the</strong> child's waist kissed her<br />

lovingly, and <strong>the</strong>n turned her towards<br />

Caroline Armstrong, saying, "Look <strong>the</strong>re,<br />

Maggie; who is that nice lady?"<br />

Maggie, looking up, saw her mo<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

with arms now outstretched, watching her<br />

anxiously ; and, twisting herself quickly<br />

round, she clung closely to Mary, who<br />

whispered to her " to go like a good girl."<br />

Slowly and reluctantly <strong>the</strong> little one left her<br />

new sister's protecting arms, and moved<br />

VOL. II. D


34 Chlums :<br />

towards her mo<strong>the</strong>r ; but after a few short,<br />

uncertain steps, she stopped, and claspmg<br />

her hands behmd her back, repeated in her<br />

baby Enghsh, and with eyes cast down,<br />

that mo<strong>the</strong>r's last-taus^ht lesson :<br />

—<br />

" I'se a love child and she's sick <strong>of</strong> me."<br />

Then, turning quickly away, she ran back<br />

and hid herself behind Mary.<br />

No one spoke ; even Mr. Lawrence forgot<br />

to keep up his last character, and improve<br />

<strong>the</strong> occasion by administering a moral<br />

proverb ; and <strong>the</strong> first sound heard was<br />

Caroline Armstrong's bitter laugh as she<br />

once more leant back heavily against <strong>the</strong><br />

table.<br />

" Witness, all <strong>of</strong> you," said she, " how my<br />

child loves me ! how<br />

fond she is <strong>of</strong> me ; and<br />

you," she cried, turning fiercely towards<br />

Mary, " do you still prate <strong>of</strong> peace and<br />

steal my daughter's love from me ? " And<br />

moving quickly to <strong>the</strong> frightened Maggie,<br />

she lifted her in her arms, and sat her upon<br />

<strong>the</strong> table. " Now child, listen to me," she


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 35<br />

continued, with her hand upon both<br />

Maggie's shoulders.<br />

" In a few years when<br />

jou have grown a big girl and people ask,<br />

ivho was your fa<strong>the</strong>r? you will hear <strong>the</strong> wise-<br />

acres reply, a successful lover, an honour-<br />

able man, a good fellow. Who was your<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r? A weak-minded, love-sick fool. A<br />

worthless woman, forsaken by God, despised<br />

by men. You will remember, child ; who<br />

is she ?'" But poor Maggie could no longer<br />

restrain her frightened sobs, and Mary,<br />

quiet, gentle Mary, was aroused ; and snatch-<br />

ing up <strong>the</strong> child cried, "You iniLst not; you<br />

shall not teach her such things. It is<br />

shameful <strong>of</strong> you."<br />

Caroline Armstrong stood perfectly still,<br />

lier eyes glancing from one to ano<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>m. " Shameful !<br />

" she muttered ; "yes,<br />

nothing but shame for her and me. / am<br />

«afe! <strong>the</strong>re will soon be great rejoicings over<br />

me down <strong>the</strong>re. But what <strong>of</strong> her ? " She<br />

^rew wilder and almost incoherent as she<br />

went on : " God's gift— a love child ! Death<br />

D 2


3 6 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

would be <strong>the</strong> best thing for her too—an<br />

early death, with her loving mo<strong>the</strong>r ; ha,<br />

ha ! and she shall have it ; she shall have<br />

it ! " she shrieked, as again seizing <strong>the</strong> neck<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bottle, she brandished it wildly over<br />

her head and darted forward. But once<br />

more her strength failed her, excitement<br />

overpowered her, and she fell on <strong>the</strong> floor<br />

at her daughter's feet.<br />

The two men raised her, as Mary carried<br />

<strong>the</strong> now shrieking child quickly away—and<br />

she seemed anxious to speak again, but <strong>the</strong><br />

life blood choked her utterance, a last bitter<br />

laugh forced its way up as her eyes were<br />

turned triumphantly towards Lawrence<br />

and even as <strong>the</strong>y turned and <strong>the</strong>ir glance<br />

kindled, her triumph was achieved. She<br />

had succeeded—ending her fast life as she<br />

had wished.<br />

Nothing was known about her people out<br />

<strong>the</strong>re, and Lawrence, without much diffi-<br />

culty, constituted himself her uncle; <strong>the</strong><br />

landlord knowincf that she had come from<br />

:<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queeiis <strong>Navy</strong>. 37<br />

<strong>the</strong> bull fight with him, and also being<br />

only too glad to be saved all personal<br />

bo<strong>the</strong>r. Sending <strong>the</strong> two girls back to<br />

Gibraltar, Lawrence slept that night at<br />

<strong>the</strong> hotel, and on <strong>the</strong> following day Caro-<br />

Ime Armstrong was buried.<br />

" It will be a heavy pull upon us," Mr,<br />

Lawrence had said to his eldest daughter<br />

" her jewellery and dresses are <strong>of</strong> very<br />

little value, but we must stint ourselves<br />

in order to afford a decent resting-place<br />

to our erring sister."<br />

This was very nice; and Mary, pleased<br />

to find her fa<strong>the</strong>r so unselfish and thought-<br />

ful, did stint herself. In consequence <strong>of</strong><br />

which, and <strong>of</strong> sundry visits to a shop close<br />

around <strong>the</strong> corner, <strong>the</strong>re was a marked<br />

increase in that unselfish and thoughtful<br />

man's pocket-money, after <strong>the</strong> dead woman's<br />

property had been sold and her funeral ex-<br />

penses paid. By this unexpected occurrence<br />

<strong>the</strong>y were detained in Gibraltar for ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

week ; <strong>the</strong>n, after a few days on board <strong>the</strong><br />

;


38 <strong>Chums</strong>.<br />

steamer, <strong>the</strong>y landed at Southampton,<br />

went to London immediately, and as Mary<br />

thought, with much unnecessary secrecy,<br />

and settled in lodgings over a small shop<br />

in St. Martin's Lane.


CHAPTEE III.<br />

^^JpOW for Westfield Vicarage, <strong>the</strong> resi-<br />

dence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Eev. John Ormby,<br />

uncle <strong>of</strong> Violet and Dicky. I have<br />

not spoken <strong>of</strong> him before as <strong>the</strong> Reverend^<br />

in fact most people were apt to forget that<br />

he was a clergyman. He had taken but<br />

little duty since <strong>the</strong> living had come to him<br />

on <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> his fa<strong>the</strong>r, and before be-<br />

coming a vicar, much <strong>of</strong> his time had been<br />

spent abroad. He was in Barbadoes when<br />

<strong>the</strong> news <strong>of</strong> his fa<strong>the</strong>r's death reached him ;<br />

staying with his bro<strong>the</strong>r who was manager<br />

<strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> large sugar plantations <strong>the</strong>re ;<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y were on <strong>the</strong>ir way home toge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Eichard's three children being also with<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, when <strong>the</strong>ir vessel was wrecked at <strong>the</strong><br />

entrance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> English Channel, and Eichard


40<br />

<strong>Chums</strong><br />

Ormby and his eldest daughter, Mary, were<br />

amongst <strong>the</strong> missing. The hving <strong>of</strong> West-<br />

field was worth about six hundred a year,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> vicar had lately sold <strong>the</strong> advowson<br />

to Mr. Monkton, who owned <strong>the</strong> greater<br />

part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> surrounding country. The<br />

working man <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> parish was <strong>the</strong> curate.<br />

'•A curate ! " as Tinsel says to Eochdale ni<br />

Sheridan Knowle's old English play, " The<br />

Hunchback :<br />

"<br />

******<br />

A curate ! Better be a Yeoman's son !<br />

The cnrate ever hath a loaded hack,<br />

He may be called <strong>the</strong> Yeoman <strong>of</strong> tlie cliurcli ;<br />

That sweating- does his work and drudg-es on<br />

While lives <strong>the</strong> hopeful rector at his ease."<br />

Christmas is drawing near now. Dicky<br />

belongs to <strong>the</strong> Duke <strong>of</strong><br />

:<br />

Wellington.^ Hagship<br />

at Portsmouth, and is at home on a fort-<br />

night's leave ; <strong>the</strong> captain <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Duke<br />

—sensible man—considering that it is bettei-<br />

to give plenty <strong>of</strong> leave to <strong>the</strong> youngsters<br />

who are sent to his ship to await <strong>the</strong>ir next<br />

sea-going appointment, than to keep <strong>the</strong>m<br />

in a town hke Portsmoutli, to loosen <strong>the</strong>ir


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 41<br />

morals, lose <strong>the</strong>ir health and coin, and<br />

untie <strong>the</strong> last string <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir mo<strong>the</strong>rs'<br />

aprons.<br />

Snow has been falling for several days,<br />

and we slip and flounder down <strong>the</strong> narrow<br />

hill pathway, at <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong> which is<br />

one entrance to <strong>the</strong> Vicar as^e ^-rounds.<br />

" Get in <strong>the</strong>re, Pinch er ! hie in, stupid>I "<br />

sounds a clear, girlish voice, from a little<br />

far<strong>the</strong>r down <strong>the</strong> valley ;<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, " Good dog,<br />

good old Pinch," as <strong>the</strong> report <strong>of</strong> a gun, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> squeal <strong>of</strong> a rabbit follow each o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

rapidly. We turn a sharp corner, taking<br />

care first to give tongue, and so run no risk<br />

<strong>of</strong> sharing <strong>the</strong> fate <strong>of</strong> '^ <strong>the</strong> pretty little<br />

rabbits, so engaging in <strong>the</strong>ir habits," and in<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r five minutes we have relieved Vi<br />

Ormby <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bag, and <strong>of</strong>fered to carry <strong>the</strong><br />

young tree she has been beating Avith.<br />

" Come along, Dicky," she cries, as her<br />

bro<strong>the</strong>r and Armstrong tramp towards us<br />

from <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> young plantation.<br />

"One dozen, exactly," she continued, to


42 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

Armstrong, " and as Dicky lias shot two<br />

more than you have, you lose two pair <strong>of</strong><br />

gloves— sixes, straw colour, nine buttons,<br />

would be most acceptable ; not much <strong>of</strong> a<br />

reward to ask, is it ? " she demands, turning<br />

to " us," and <strong>the</strong>n looking down at her<br />

slushy, heavy boots, and torn skirts. We<br />

express our concurrence, and are com-<br />

mencing one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> very neatest <strong>of</strong> a neat<br />

assortment <strong>of</strong> compliments, when she cuts<br />

us short with, " iN'ow, I vote for luncheon.<br />

I dare say Cecil and Mr. Daintree will have<br />

come round by this time ;<br />

as a hunter.''<br />

:<br />

and I'm as hungry<br />

" As a beater, you mean,*' said Dicky<br />

and we all trudge on in single file, Yi hand-<br />

ing her stick to Jack Armstrong to carry.<br />

The latter is staying at <strong>the</strong> Vicarage. Old<br />

Court, <strong>the</strong> place he has lately bought, is<br />

under repair, and its owner has been spend-<br />

ing <strong>the</strong> greater part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last few months<br />

at Mr. Ormby's ; with what result was<br />

determined no later than yesterday, when<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 43<br />

Vi promised that she would, perhaps^ some<br />

day, allow him to make her mistress <strong>of</strong> one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nicest houses in that part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

county.<br />

Mrs. Monkton, Violet's great female friend<br />

and adviser, had, for reasons best known to<br />

herself, done all she could to forward <strong>the</strong><br />

match ; Mr. Ormby considering that, if Yi<br />

must get married, and had not Mrs. Monkton<br />

assured him that she must^ she would still<br />

live near <strong>the</strong> Vicarage, was well contented<br />

to promise her to such an energetic, agree-<br />

able man as Mr. Armstrong appeared to be.<br />

Lastly, Vi herself, merry, aflectionate little<br />

Vi, proud <strong>of</strong> her early engagement, and<br />

quite decided in her own mind that it should<br />

be a jolly long one, scarcely realized yet<br />

what she had promised ; and looked upon<br />

Armstrong as a good fellow, whom she<br />

might marry some day, and who, if she did,<br />

w^ould let her enjoy life pretty much in her<br />

own way, in <strong>the</strong> old county, and close to<br />

her old chums, her bro<strong>the</strong>r Dicky, and


44 Ch iwh^- :<br />

Cecil Monkton. Of <strong>the</strong>se two latter, up to<br />

<strong>the</strong> present tmie, Dicky had laughed at <strong>the</strong><br />

whole business—<strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> Yi, married,<br />

was too absurd ;<br />

and Monkton knew nothing<br />

about yesterday's business, however much<br />

he may have " had his suspicions."<br />

Sliding and laughing, slipping and joking,<br />

we come at length nearly to <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> hill, and strike into a good broad road,<br />

close to one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> gates <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Vicarage.<br />

A good, honest old live-barred gate it is,<br />

too, with a solid pair <strong>of</strong> hinges, which <strong>the</strong><br />

extra work and weight constantly given<br />

<strong>the</strong>m by Vi and Dicky, have been ])Owerless<br />

to wear out.<br />

We pass through, and wait for a few<br />

minutes, whilst <strong>the</strong> gallant naval <strong>of</strong>ficer and<br />

<strong>the</strong> engaged young lady persuade <strong>the</strong> too<br />

agreeable Armstrong to accompany <strong>the</strong>m<br />

in that rustic, invigorating exercise, " swing-<br />

ing on a gate.'*<br />

The drive to <strong>the</strong> house curves shghtly to<br />

<strong>the</strong> right, away through <strong>the</strong> glebe land, on


.4 Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 4^')<br />

whicli are grazing some few <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> live stock<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vicar's home farm ; and <strong>the</strong> house<br />

itself is now well in view, long, low, and<br />

compact, as far as <strong>the</strong> main part <strong>of</strong> tlie<br />

building goes, but with many irregular<br />

additions and outhouses, more straggling<br />

and more numerous as <strong>the</strong>y near <strong>the</strong> farm<br />

at tlie back. Away on <strong>the</strong> left, almost<br />

hidden by an ivy-covered wall, is <strong>the</strong> kitchen<br />

garden, in which, as old Alick will tell you,<br />

is <strong>the</strong> best soil in Sussex ;<br />

and beyond again,<br />

is <strong>the</strong> meadow, where Vi and Dicky have<br />

played many a hard fought single-wicket<br />

match, and where we can just see, between<br />

those two old oak trees, from one <strong>of</strong> which<br />

hangs a well worn swing, Vi's archery<br />

ground and target-stands, and, nearer <strong>the</strong><br />

house, <strong>the</strong> lawn tennis court.<br />

Hunger having triumphed over <strong>the</strong> at-<br />

tractions <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> gate, we move on again.<br />

About halfway along <strong>the</strong> drive, a foot-<br />

path branches <strong>of</strong>f up <strong>the</strong> hill to <strong>the</strong> right,<br />

a, short cut leading you tlirough a small


46 <strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

" kissing gate " at <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> glebe,<br />

and so on, past <strong>the</strong> National School, with<br />

its usual sprinkling <strong>of</strong> mud-pie makers,<br />

and into <strong>the</strong> village street, and <strong>the</strong> parish<br />

church, a narrow, much-beaten track, not<br />

encroaching too much upon <strong>the</strong> vicar's<br />

grass. Down a steep incline, which com-<br />

mences at about fifty yards from <strong>the</strong> front<br />

door <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> vicarage, is ano<strong>the</strong>r entrance<br />

gate, and close to it, looking sadly bare<br />

now, is <strong>the</strong> Lime Walk. Over that low,<br />

thick-set hedge on <strong>the</strong> right, we can catch<br />

a glimpse <strong>of</strong> Yi's fowl-house and aviary,<br />

built at <strong>the</strong> entrance to <strong>the</strong> Lover's Walk,<br />

<strong>of</strong> which walk we, rightly enough, can<br />

see nothing from here, and which Vi and<br />

Dicky have never frequented much, unless<br />

w^e take into consideration <strong>the</strong> necessary<br />

visits <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> young lady to her rabbits,<br />

and broken-legged pets <strong>of</strong> all kinds, and <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> young gentleman to his ferrets and<br />

tame jackdaw, all residing in or about <strong>the</strong><br />

summer-house, stretching across its far end,


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 47<br />

As we arrive at <strong>the</strong> porch, <strong>the</strong> gate<br />

near <strong>the</strong> Lime Walk is thrown open, and<br />

Monkton, with Daintree by his side, drives<br />

swiftly up <strong>the</strong> incline in his dog-cart.<br />

The vicar's man, gardener, groom, and<br />

general out-<strong>of</strong>-door servant— in fact, em-<br />

phatically^ " <strong>the</strong> vicar's man "—leaves <strong>the</strong><br />

" cowcumber frame<br />

'*'<br />

around <strong>the</strong> corner,<br />

and, touching his cap to "Master Cecil,"<br />

leads <strong>the</strong> horse <strong>of</strong>f to <strong>the</strong> stables.<br />

Cecil has driven over from his fa<strong>the</strong>r's<br />

place, " Tremlett," where, for <strong>the</strong> last<br />

fortnight, Daintree has been staying with<br />

him.<br />

They all entered <strong>the</strong> house, and hat-<br />

pegs were quickly decorated. Pincher<br />

would fain have entered also, but after<br />

enjoying <strong>the</strong> pleasures <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> chase, <strong>the</strong><br />

muddy line was drawn at <strong>the</strong> doorstep,<br />

and beyond that he dared not venture.<br />

He, <strong>of</strong> course, Avent through <strong>the</strong> form <strong>of</strong><br />

tugging beseechingly at Vi's petticoats,<br />

and wistfully wagging his stump <strong>of</strong> a tail,


48 Chinms<br />

but liis canine appeals proving <strong>of</strong> no effect,<br />

he dragged a thorn out <strong>of</strong> his tail upon<br />

<strong>the</strong> doorstep, and trotted after old Alick<br />

to <strong>the</strong> yard.<br />

The Vicarage hall is large, square, and<br />

old-fashioned, with several curiosities col-<br />

lected by former Vicars adorning <strong>the</strong> walls,<br />

and amongst <strong>the</strong>m cases <strong>of</strong> stuffed birds,<br />

set up by <strong>the</strong> present occupant during his<br />

early travels, cases which ran many risks<br />


A 7\ile <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 49<br />

Approaching him on tiptoe, she removed<br />

<strong>the</strong> newspaper from his knees—<strong>the</strong>y got<br />

<strong>the</strong> previous day's paper at eleven o'clock<br />

every forenoon at Westfield—and adminis-<br />

tered several vigorous kisses to <strong>the</strong> old<br />

man's forehead.<br />

" You distressingly naughty man ; you<br />

have been reading small print again," she<br />

said, gaily, taking his arm as he looked<br />

helplessly around. "How <strong>of</strong>ten must I tell<br />

my mutinous old darling that / must do<br />

all <strong>the</strong> readincr ?"<br />

" It was only <strong>the</strong> leading articles, Vi ; I<br />

can almost read <strong>the</strong>m without my glasses,<br />

3'ou know. I think, Yi, that I must have<br />

been nearly asleep when you came in."<br />

And Mr. Ormby, feeling for his spectacles,<br />

<strong>of</strong> which, he discovered two pairs well on<br />

<strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> his head, brought one <strong>of</strong> tJiem<br />

down to a working position, nodded to<br />

his young friends, and was soon being<br />

helped to every available tit-bit by his<br />

niece.<br />

VOL. II. E


50 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

" It gives me <strong>the</strong> very greatest pleasure<br />

to see you all," he said, as soon as Yi had<br />

arranged him to her satisfaction ; " and I<br />

think it very kind <strong>of</strong> you to come and see<br />

an old fellow like I am."<br />

Most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> listeners looked guilty<br />

<strong>the</strong>y had scarcely come to visit him. Vi<br />

laughed.<br />

" Only hear him," she said ; " and <strong>the</strong><br />

conceited oUi dear knows all <strong>the</strong> time<br />

that we would o'o mile.'< to see him."<br />

" So we would, <strong>of</strong> course we would,"<br />

cliorused <strong>the</strong> guilty ones.<br />

"Ah! that reminds me <strong>of</strong> old times,"<br />

said Mr. Ormby, slowly, looking well<br />

pleased. " Why, when 1 w^as a midshipman<br />

in <strong>the</strong> old Rollo brig, who was more<br />

liked than John Ormby ? Honest John<br />

<strong>the</strong>y used to call me. Honest John. Ah !<br />

well I remember being sent to <strong>the</strong> mast-<br />

head one evening to look out for hind,<br />

which was at least a couple <strong>of</strong> hundred<br />

miles distant, and T, when I got up <strong>the</strong>re,<br />

:<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 51<br />

I felt quite blown, and—and it was about<br />

six o'clock in <strong>the</strong> evening, and— you remember,<br />

Vi. Why don't you tell <strong>the</strong>m?<br />

I seemed to see it all just now," muttered<br />

<strong>the</strong> old ma.n, sadly; adding, in ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

moment, " a little <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> s<strong>of</strong>t pudding,<br />

please, Vi," and evidently forgetting all<br />

about <strong>the</strong> mast-heading, which had been<br />

merely one <strong>of</strong> his many fancies.<br />

Vi looked mournfully at Dicky, and her<br />

uncle laid his hand affectionately on her<br />

shoulder. " How <strong>the</strong>y will all flock to ' Old<br />

Court ' some<br />

day, eh. Miss Vi ? " said he.<br />

"But you shan't kee]) far away from <strong>the</strong><br />

Vicarage for long at a time," he added,<br />

with all an old man's suspicion, as he turned<br />

to Armstrong, who was trying—Monkton is<br />

my authority for using <strong>the</strong> word " trying "<br />

—to put on <strong>the</strong> proper '' conscious " look.<br />

It was Vi's turn to look guilty now.<br />

Daintree glanced quickly across <strong>the</strong> table<br />

at Cecil ; but, as <strong>the</strong> latter was staring in<br />

astonishment at Armstrong, and was a])-<br />

E 2


52 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

parently in no hurry to speak, he stifled a<br />

" whew," and hastened to break <strong>the</strong> silence<br />

before it became awkward.<br />

" Ah, Vi I Vi " ! he exclaimed in his most<br />

dismal accents. " Tell me, is tliis to be my<br />

reward, after long years <strong>of</strong> sailorly devotion?<br />

Was it for this that I sold my farm and<br />

went to sea ? Was it for this that I have<br />

spent <strong>the</strong> best years <strong>of</strong> my life amongst <strong>the</strong><br />

masked women <strong>of</strong> Turkey, Persia, and<br />

Arabia, and—worse still ; cruellest task <strong>of</strong><br />

all !—<strong>the</strong>ir zmmasked, black, bronze, and<br />

copper-coloured sisters ?<br />

' Was it for this f<br />

But enough !<br />

Words<br />

fail me ;<br />

and I will<br />

merely remark that apparently it was for<br />

this."<br />

Cecil looked impatiently at <strong>the</strong> seemingly<br />

distracted Daintree, but managed to join in<br />

<strong>the</strong> laugh around him, and <strong>the</strong> late flag-<br />

lieutenant continued with increased de-<br />

spondency, and in imploring accents :<br />

" But<br />

when on <strong>the</strong> festive bridal tour, when on<br />

<strong>the</strong> joyous honeymoon, all I ask z.s', that in


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 53<br />

your most mirthful, your merriest moments,<br />

you will pause to heave a sigh, and drop a<br />

tear to unrequited affection as embodied in<br />

<strong>the</strong> person <strong>of</strong> your sorely-crushed Francis,"<br />

and he buried his head in his hands with a<br />

sepulchral groan, having succeeded in his<br />

effort, and raised a general laugh.<br />

Cecil joined in gaily with <strong>the</strong> rest, and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n congratulated Vi in his own thorough,<br />

seaiaanlike manner.<br />

After luncheon was over, and <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

once more in <strong>the</strong> hall, he went up to Dicky.<br />

" Nipper, old fellow," said he to <strong>the</strong><br />

youngster ; " we are not to be shipmates<br />

again, just yet. It seems a shame," he con-<br />

tinued, turning to Vi, " to bring bad news<br />

in <strong>the</strong> midst <strong>of</strong> all your happiness ;<br />

that is,<br />

if you consider it hacir he corrected him-<br />

self, ra<strong>the</strong>r bitterly. "Daintree and I were<br />

appointed to <strong>the</strong> Tigris this morning."<br />

" What ? an Indian trooper ! Oh<br />

exclaimed <strong>the</strong> Nipper.<br />

lor !<br />

" How horrid <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m to appoint you so<br />

"


54 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

quickly ! Of<br />

with great disgust.<br />

:<br />

course it's bad news," said Yi,<br />

" Why, you have not<br />

been home more than tliree months !<br />

" This is ra<strong>the</strong>r a special case," said<br />

Cecil, drily. " Their iirst lieutenant was<br />

promoted, and one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r lieuteuants<br />

died during <strong>the</strong>ir last passage to Ports-<br />

mouth, so <strong>the</strong>re were two vacancies ;<br />

"<br />

and as<br />

when Daintree and I were last in town— just<br />

before he came down liere—we went to <strong>the</strong><br />

Admiralty, and asked to get <strong>the</strong> same ship if<br />

possible, we were ap])ointed to <strong>the</strong> old<br />

Tigris at once. I don't think that ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>of</strong> us quite bargained f(n- <strong>the</strong> tr()0])ing<br />

business, though. Did we, old fellow?''<br />

" Not quiie^' said Daintree, dismally.<br />

" A steaming family warehouse and store-<br />

ship for removing damaged goods to India !<br />

Pickford's van's a fool to it. They only


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 55<br />

one responding to your sailorly devotion,<br />

even though it will only have lasted for <strong>the</strong><br />

passage instead <strong>of</strong> for • long years.' "<br />

" By Jove, I hope she won't !<br />

" said Dain-<br />

tree, quickly. " That is, I know you feel<br />

that I am undeserving <strong>of</strong> any such good<br />

fortune. The only point that I can see<br />

about <strong>the</strong> business is that Mrs, Faulkner—<br />

Miss Maggie Dutton that was, you know<br />

is going out in her."<br />

— •<br />

" I don't quite understand how that will<br />

affect you," said Vi, demurely.<br />

" Oh, no I<br />

1 agree with you intensely.<br />

As you say., a bride is not much sport as a<br />

rule—not that one may occasionally meet a<br />

frisky, young .<br />

But<br />

it was not <strong>of</strong> her<br />

that I was thinking. I heard from old Sir<br />

liobert this morning. He liad just met<br />

Major Faulkner at <strong>the</strong> ' Junior,' and lieard<br />

from him that Oa]:)tain Braddon, <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Tii/ris, had <strong>of</strong>lered to give Mrs. Faulkner's<br />

.'


56 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

she might ei<strong>the</strong>r stay in India with <strong>the</strong><br />

Faulkner's—who only have one year to<br />

stop out—or she might easily come home<br />

again in <strong>the</strong> sliip under <strong>the</strong> wing <strong>of</strong> some<br />

returnin^r Dowa<strong>of</strong>er."<br />

"A most charming arrangement, I must<br />

say," laughed Vi. " How fortunate it is<br />

that <strong>the</strong> Indian troopships carry chaplains.<br />

I'll bet you a dozen gloves to a dozen<br />

Bombay bangles, that you will be, at any<br />

rate, engaged to Blanche before you reach<br />

India."<br />

" Done along wi' you. Miss," said Dain-<br />

tree. "And now as that irrepressible<br />

sportsman—<strong>the</strong> Nipper— has gone <strong>of</strong>Fw^ith<br />

his gun, will you let me assist you in<br />

knocking Monkton and Armstrong's heads<br />

<strong>of</strong>f at lawn tennis."<br />

" But I said I would never play with<br />

you again ;<br />

pick <strong>the</strong> balls up !<br />

" Ah !<br />

:<br />

you are so rude, and you won't<br />

"<br />

But you didn't mean that^ you<br />

know," said Daintree with strong conviction.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 57<br />

"You couldn't mean such shocking cruelty.<br />

Besides, if vou like, I'll do nothing all <strong>the</strong><br />

time but j)i('k tlu' balls up."<br />

" You had better try it on, sir !<br />

" said Vi,<br />

shaking her bat at him, and leading <strong>the</strong><br />

way to <strong>the</strong> court which, for winter play,<br />

had been marked on <strong>the</strong> asphalte at one<br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> house.<br />

"Come along, Monkton," said Armstrong;<br />

" we must take <strong>the</strong> conceit out <strong>of</strong><br />

"<br />

<strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Lawn tennis in <strong>the</strong> winter, say I !<br />

" Hear !<br />

Hear<br />

!<br />

" exclaimed Cecil. ''The<br />

nuisance <strong>of</strong> it is that <strong>the</strong> afternoons are so<br />

short that one can't c^et enouc^h <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

game ; and I'm afraid it becomes a little<br />

too evident sometimes that gravel is harder<br />

than


58 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

fire, Yi ])residiiig at a small tea table on<br />

<strong>the</strong> hearth-rug. "My lady motlier will ex-<br />

pect a visit before <strong>the</strong> Tigris sails."<br />

" What's to-day ? — Friday. All right ; you<br />

can go to town to-morrow, and spend <strong>the</strong><br />

remaining time witli Lady Fernleigh. We<br />

had better join next Thursday."<br />

'^ But you will both stay to dinner this<br />

evening, won't you ? " said Yi. Daintree<br />

glanced towards Cecil, leaving it to him<br />

to decide, and Yi continued ;<br />

:<br />

"I especially<br />

want you to meet Miss Lov/der, that curious<br />

old lady who has taken <strong>the</strong> Willow Cottage.<br />

She has come from one <strong>of</strong> tlie midland<br />

counties, and, like a good many o<strong>the</strong>r mid-<br />

landers, has never met a naval <strong>of</strong>ficer, and<br />

has a most vague idea <strong>of</strong> things sea-going.<br />

It would be great fun drawing <strong>the</strong> old lady<br />

—^just <strong>the</strong> tiniest bit, wouldn't it, Cecil ? "<br />

But, somehow, Cecil did not care about it.<br />

"I'm afraid <strong>the</strong> Clipper will have to rc^pre-<br />

sent <strong>the</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>, and do all <strong>the</strong> ' drawing,' "<br />

he said. " We nromised tlie mater to be


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 59<br />

back at 7.30 at <strong>the</strong> latest. She has a small<br />

dinner on." Daintree langhed s<strong>of</strong>tly to<br />

himself as Monkton spoke ; it had seemed<br />

improbable to him that <strong>the</strong>y would stay<br />

to dinner at <strong>the</strong> Vicarage ; but it was<br />

strange that this was <strong>the</strong> first he had heard<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 7.30 arrangement.<br />

"Oh !<br />

Hang your mo<strong>the</strong>r's dinner party,"<br />

cried <strong>the</strong> Nipper. "I don't mean to be<br />

rude, Cecil," he added, apologetically; "but<br />

we might have had such glorious fun with<br />

Miss Lowder."<br />

'* And 1 insist upon being rude," said<br />

Vi, "and I, f^ say, 'Hang Mrs. Monk-<br />

ton's dinner pai'ty!' It's too horrid, your<br />

going away. You slian't escape Miss<br />

Lowder altooetlier, thouo-lj, for I told her<br />

to come before dark, as <strong>the</strong> roads are so bad,<br />

and we Avould put her up foi- tlie niglit. oi-<br />

several niglits, if she would stop ; so slie<br />

may turn u]) at any minute. Husli !" she<br />

continued, <strong>the</strong>ati-ically, as a ring at <strong>the</strong> fi'ont-<br />

door bell was heard. " Hush !<br />

She comes."


60 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

" Enter maiden lady <strong>of</strong> uncertain age,"<br />

murmured Daintree.<br />

" Fearfully and won-<br />

derfully attired in mediaeval gown and poke<br />

bonnet."<br />

"Hush! 'Tis she," again stage-whispered<br />

Vi, as <strong>the</strong> door opened, and she rose to<br />

receive her visitor.<br />

" Just in time for a cup <strong>of</strong> tea," she said,<br />

gaily. " Let me introduce Mr. Daintree<br />

and Mr. Monkton—Miss Lowder. You<br />

know <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs, don't you ? "<br />

"Oh, yes, me dear ! I met Mr. Armstrong<br />

with ye, yesterday, ye know." And<br />

<strong>the</strong> old lady gave a meaning smile.<br />

dear me ;<br />

middy.^'<br />

" And,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re's Master Eichard, too, <strong>the</strong><br />

Dicky looked far, far from gay at being<br />

called "Master Eichard," and positively<br />

grinned with confusion as <strong>the</strong> maiden in-<br />

sisted upon kissing <strong>the</strong> " dear boy."<br />

" And so you two young gentlemen are<br />

sailor <strong>of</strong>ficers," she said, after everyone was<br />

once more seated. "And how do you like


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 61<br />

<strong>the</strong> sea, sir? I suppose you are only on<br />

shore for a few days ? "<br />

" Say a few hours, my dear madam," re-<br />

plied Daintree, promptly, determined to<br />

have some fun before Cecil dragged him<br />

away. " We count our leave by hours.<br />

Freezing in England to-day. Sail for<br />

sunny Africa or spicy Arabia to-morrow.<br />

That's our style. Out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ice, into <strong>the</strong><br />

water ; and yet we are alive. Curious,<br />

dear madam, isn't it? Allow me to <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

you a biscuit."<br />

"Dear me! dear me!" ejaculated Miss<br />

Lowder, accepting a biscuit and ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

cup <strong>of</strong> tea. " And to think that you are<br />

<strong>the</strong> first sailor <strong>of</strong>ficers I have met. But<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, to be sure, you would very rarely<br />

find time to travel so far away from<br />

<strong>the</strong> sea as Warwickshire, where I come<br />

from."<br />

" W^arwickshire !" exclaimed Daintree,<br />

in amazed tones, and quite ignoring Vi's<br />

appeahng look. "Why we should be lost,


()2 (Jiums<br />

utterly lost, so far away from our guus,<br />

rauis, torpedoes, and cat-o'-iiiue-tails. No,<br />

madam, a grateful island requires us to<br />

sacrifice our lives, if need be, in defending<br />

her surrounding waters; and shall we waste<br />

our time, expend our substance, and <strong>the</strong><br />

British tax-payers' money in Warwick-<br />

sJtire 1 No !<br />

Shipwreck,<br />

:<br />

sink, and perish<br />

<strong>the</strong> thought!" and <strong>the</strong> late flag-lieutenant<br />

winked <strong>the</strong> eye far<strong>the</strong>st removed from Miss<br />

Lowder.<br />

Tliat elderly s])inster looked ra<strong>the</strong>r be-<br />

wildered at <strong>the</strong> "sailor <strong>of</strong>ficer's" vehemence,<br />

but, probably, would not have been really<br />

eery much surprised had he commenced<br />

hauling on imaginary ropes, and " yo-<br />

hoino^" about <strong>the</strong> room, or dancino- a horn-<br />

pipe on <strong>the</strong> table, <strong>the</strong>se things being, as<br />

she was well assured, <strong>the</strong> staple amuse-<br />

ments <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sailor man.<br />

''''Dear me!" she ejaculated once more.<br />

^' How very thoughtful and considerate <strong>of</strong><br />

you. Such a young man, too."


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 63<br />

" Young in years, but old in — in<br />

wisdom," said Daintree, quite loud enough<br />

to drown <strong>the</strong> malicious word with which<br />

Vi had attempted to linish his sentence.<br />

wi Yqyj true, sir," resumed <strong>the</strong> spinster,<br />

musingly. ''And how muck you must see<br />

<strong>of</strong> foreign lands. But don't you get very<br />

tired <strong>of</strong> pulling <strong>the</strong> ropes and putting up<br />

<strong>the</strong> sails all day?"<br />

Dicky here endeavoured to explain that<br />

those light gymnastics were not indulged<br />

in by <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficers ; but, after listening to him<br />

incredulously, she called him a " naughty<br />

boy," and patted his head, as, with a<br />

knowing smile, she told him not to try and<br />

deceive an old woman. *' And <strong>the</strong>n those<br />

dear Jack tars," she exclaimed, turninsf to<br />

Daintree, as <strong>the</strong> only person from whom<br />

to obtain reliable information; ** Tve seen<br />

one or two <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m when <strong>the</strong>y had been<br />

what <strong>the</strong>y called ' paid <strong>of</strong>i'.' Now, what<br />

is that, Captain Dainty P"<br />

" Daintree., madam; Daintree," said <strong>the</strong>


64 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

lieutenant, as <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>rs laughed slyly at<br />

him, for <strong>the</strong> Hon. Francis was very par-<br />

ticular about his name. " Paid <strong>of</strong>f, had<br />

<strong>the</strong>y been? Poor fellows," he continued.<br />

" It is a painful subject, Miss Lowder ;<br />

after many weary years <strong>of</strong> incessant toil<br />

at sea, we have a <strong>of</strong>rand day <strong>of</strong> reckonincf<br />

for all who have committed <strong>of</strong>fences,<br />

and tlie unfortunate fellows are all paid<br />

<strong>of</strong>f toge<strong>the</strong>r. You have heard <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

cat - o' - nine - tails, Miss Lowder ? Ah !<br />

Who has not? Well, <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong><br />

lashes has been reduced lately to<br />

four-hundred-and-thirty-two ; but it used<br />

to be<br />

"<br />

" Four hundred and thirty-two lashes with<br />

that fearful cat ! Oh<br />

!<br />

interrupted <strong>the</strong> old lady.<br />

how<br />

:<br />

monstrous,"<br />

" Are you certain that that was <strong>the</strong><br />

exact number, Mr. Daintree ? " asked Vi<br />

and to her he gently murmured, " Four<br />

dozen with nine tails, each tail being a lash ;<br />

and what does that come to ? Four hun-<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 65<br />

dred and thirty-two, or four bag, as Jack<br />

familiarly has it."<br />

Yi, who alone heard his calculation,<br />

smiled, but Cecil also interrupted now,<br />

thinking it hiorh time for <strong>the</strong> romancinsf<br />

Daintree to be drawn <strong>of</strong>f.<br />

" Come along, old fellow," said he ; " we<br />

must be moving. Eemember you have to<br />

say good-bye for several months. Good-<br />

bye, Mr. Ormby."<br />

But his Eeverence had fallen asleep.<br />

" Good-bye, Captain Monkton. God<br />

guard ye in your perilous life," said <strong>the</strong><br />

old lady, fervently, as Cecil shook her<br />

hand.<br />

" Nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> us are captains yet, I'm<br />

sorry to say, Miss Lowedr, and very likely<br />

never will be," he replied.<br />

" Oh, I thought you were sure to be<br />

captains. All <strong>the</strong> army <strong>of</strong>ficers are cap-<br />

tains."<br />

Daintree sighed, and muttered, " Militia<br />

—3rd battalion<br />

—<br />

ours^ you know."<br />

VOL. II. F


66 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

"No doubt, and all <strong>the</strong> Volunteer <strong>of</strong>ficers<br />

too," said Cecil, laughing. " But a captain<br />

in <strong>the</strong> royal navy is scarcely <strong>the</strong> same as a<br />

captain in <strong>the</strong> army, Miss Lowder. With<br />

us, captain is tlie rank next before<br />

admiral. Daintree and myself are naval<br />

lieutenants.'*<br />

"Ah, well; I don't understand much<br />

about it, I suppose. I'm an old woman.<br />

Good-bye, lieutenant—God bless you, my<br />

dear." And Cecil, followed by Yi and<br />

Dicky, left <strong>the</strong> room.<br />

Daintree lingered behind. He saw a<br />

chance <strong>of</strong> improving <strong>the</strong> occasion ; and<br />

stepping before Miss Lowder, he inquired<br />

if she had ever heard <strong>of</strong> an admiral.<br />

Miss Lowder nodded. She thought that<br />

perhaps she had heard <strong>of</strong> those exalted<br />

marine monsters.<br />

"Well, if you would like to hear it,"<br />

said Daintree, with his usual amount <strong>of</strong><br />

diffidence, "I once made a little poem about<br />

admirals. It runs like this :<br />

:<br />


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen\^ <strong>Navy</strong>. 67<br />

" Pre<strong>the</strong>nt armth,'" <strong>the</strong> guard !<br />

Thoimcl <strong>the</strong> " Admiralth Welcome," bugler !<br />

Pipe, boathwain, long and hard !<br />

•' Toe a line " for <strong>the</strong> great <strong>the</strong>a ruler !<br />

'• Thilence. fore and aft " !<br />

Thiver timber, neat and handy !<br />

' Cellth " for that man who laugh'd !<br />

Dared to hiugh at <strong>the</strong> ocean dandy<br />

Anadni'ral, I de<strong>the</strong>nded from<br />

The brave <strong>the</strong>a knight <strong>of</strong> old<br />

"<br />

;<br />

! ;<br />

Inheriting <strong>the</strong>ir much " pom-pom !<br />

Theeking more thtripes <strong>of</strong> gold.<br />

When on <strong>the</strong> quarter deck I thtand,<br />

How regal my <strong>the</strong>ntliations ;<br />

Arm'd " hearth <strong>of</strong> ore ''grow on each hand<br />

Each hearth <strong>the</strong> " fate <strong>of</strong> nations."<br />

" Pre<strong>the</strong>nt arms," <strong>the</strong> guard ! &c.<br />

And thtill I feel when down below, •<br />

My " thtaff ' clo<strong>the</strong> at my thide ;<br />

I feel, ath briny breezeth blow,<br />

ThaVry thalt-<strong>the</strong>asoned pride.<br />

But whe<strong>the</strong>r j^^'ide or whe<strong>the</strong>r thide,<br />

The wea<strong>the</strong>r thide'th my billet.<br />

And so—viceroy <strong>of</strong> wind and tide--<br />

I thwell and puff to fill it.<br />

" Pre<strong>the</strong>nt armth," <strong>the</strong> guard ! &c.<br />

A model fa<strong>the</strong>r alwayth-that<br />

Ith, ath regardth my crew.<br />

I'find " tant ^j/s" I u<strong>the</strong> tlie " eat."<br />

I make <strong>the</strong>m " tant mieua:."<br />

One thon I have and daughters three<br />

Ath middy he'll enlitht,<br />

A huthbandth p)'op each vif'th tliall be,<br />

Or my " thtaff" will be dithmitKd.<br />

'' Pre<strong>the</strong>nt nrmth," tlie guard ! &c.<br />

Aml)itiouth I. ath men <strong>of</strong> mind<br />

When young, <strong>the</strong>y thay. should be ;<br />

Math<strong>the</strong>aded " <strong>of</strong>t—'twath mine to find<br />

How beth to top tlie tree.<br />

But when grcnvn old. and at <strong>the</strong> truck,<br />

Death " making thail " and '• clothing,"<br />

Plea<strong>the</strong> God. and - Jackth'" proverbial luck,<br />

I'll take my " orders"—floating.<br />

" Presenth armth," <strong>the</strong> guard ! &c.<br />

—<br />

f2


68 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

"Yes. I suppose it's very nice," said his<br />

hearer, who didn't quite understand what<br />

it was all about, and was inclined to be<br />

cross in consequence. " Very nice, I dare<br />

say ; but I'm getting an old woman now,<br />

and more stupid, and —<br />

" Not at all ! not at all ! " broke in Dain-<br />

tree ; " couldn't be stupider—I mean,<br />

couldn't be younger^ I'm certain." And,<br />

nodding to Armstrong, who was left alone<br />

to entertain <strong>the</strong> now ra<strong>the</strong>r hio-h-horsed<br />

old lady, he hurried <strong>of</strong>f.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> meantime, Yi and Dicky had been<br />

" :<br />

coating Cecil in <strong>the</strong> hall.<br />

"Stoop down, you monster, do;" com-<br />

manded Miss Ormby. " You won't have<br />

anyone to help on your great coat in<br />

Bombay." This ra<strong>the</strong>r s<strong>of</strong>tly.<br />

" Ha ! ha ! " burst forth <strong>the</strong> Nipper.<br />

" What sort <strong>of</strong> great coats do <strong>the</strong>y wear<br />

in Bombay ? You muff, Yi."<br />

" Oh ! you are awfully clever ! yoTi<br />

never make mistakes ;<br />

" retorted Yi, as


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 61)<br />

her bro<strong>the</strong>r went to give Daintree a lift.<br />

" Cecil," she continued, in a low voice,<br />

'' Avere you not awfully surprised to hear<br />

<strong>of</strong> my eno-ao-ement ? "<br />

" Yes," said Monkton, dryly; "awfully.''<br />

" Ah !<br />

I knew I should astonish you,"<br />

slie said, triumphantl3^ " It's a very good<br />

thing ; don't you think so ? You see I<br />

shall be near you and Di(^ky, and Jack<br />

Armstrong seems a very decent fellow, and<br />

it will be like having ano<strong>the</strong>r brotlier, you<br />

know." She glanced up quickly, ex])ect-<br />

ing an emphatic " <strong>of</strong> course " from Cecil.<br />

He, however, was looking down at her,<br />

thoughtfully, "Good-bye, Vi," he said;<br />

" take my name <strong>of</strong>f <strong>the</strong> list, please. Hus-<br />

bands don't care for adopted bro<strong>the</strong>rs-in-<br />

law, and remember, little woman— you<br />

Avon't be ane^ry at wliat I'm o-oino; to<br />

say?"<br />

" Fancy his asking vie not to be angry !<br />

thought Yi; "that's because I'm enrjaged.''<br />

And <strong>the</strong>n she smiled, and Cecil continued :<br />

"


70 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

" I only want to remind you <strong>of</strong> what<br />

Tom Hood says in ' Miss Kilmansegg and<br />

her precious leg."<br />

Alas for <strong>the</strong> love that's link'd with gold ;<br />

Better—better a thousand times told<br />

More honest, happy, and laudable,<br />

The downright loving <strong>of</strong> pretty Cis<br />

Who wipes her lips, though <strong>the</strong>re's nothing amiss,<br />

And takes a kiss, and gives a kiss,<br />

In which her heart is audible.<br />

" There, don't be angry !<br />

:<br />

Come<br />

—<br />

along<br />

Daintree ; we musn't keep <strong>the</strong> mare wait-<br />

ing. Good-bye for a day or two, Yi."<br />

Old Alick received his customary tip,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> dog-cart was soon spinning along<br />

<strong>the</strong> road to Tremlett.<br />

" I don't think Cecil's quite up to <strong>the</strong><br />

knocker," remarked <strong>the</strong> Nipper, as he and<br />

Vi waited to see <strong>the</strong> last <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> dog-cart.<br />

" And I believe he's worrying himself<br />

about not having heard from Mary Law-<br />

rence for so long. He'll be getting spoony<br />

on her, if he isn't so already, which I jolly<br />

well believe he is." With which sage ob-<br />

servation, Dicky shut <strong>the</strong> front door.<br />

" I never used to tliink <strong>of</strong> Cecil getting


.4 Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 7 1<br />

spoony/" said Vi, as <strong>the</strong>y recrossed <strong>the</strong><br />

]iall.<br />

" Never used to," echoed Dicky. " When<br />

did you alter your opinion, <strong>the</strong>n ? " But<br />

his sister had entered <strong>the</strong> dining-room, and<br />

now shut <strong>the</strong> door in his face ; which<br />

would have been rude in a love-sick swain ;<br />

how much more so in an engaged young<br />

lady?<br />

Vi went to bed early that night, and<br />

ra<strong>the</strong>r astonished Dicky, by whispering as<br />

she kissed him :<br />

" Isn't it strange to think<br />

<strong>of</strong> Jack Armstrong as my husband, and<br />

your bro<strong>the</strong>r, eh ! dear old boy ? *' When<br />

Dicky came to look at it in that light it did<br />

seem strange. He hadn't got beyond <strong>the</strong><br />

hunting and shooting and yachting view <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> case before.<br />

'The next morning, Daintree left Tremlett<br />

to visit liis mo<strong>the</strong>r, and, early on Sunday,<br />

Armstrong received a telegram, calling him<br />

to London immediately.


CHAPTEE TV.<br />

^^pEMSTEONG lias somehow been<br />

d^ralK ra<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong> background lately,<br />

so we will be after him to London<br />

wondering what news can have called him<br />

up. It is easy to guess at one pressing<br />

reason which w^ould make him iiee West-<br />

field to-day, as from <strong>the</strong> cholera—<strong>the</strong><br />

fact <strong>of</strong> its being Sunday. To be tied up<br />

<strong>the</strong>re, with <strong>the</strong> vicar dozing after his early<br />

dinner, Dicky sitting out near <strong>the</strong> stables<br />

yarning with old Alick, and Yi at <strong>the</strong><br />

Sunday school repeating texts and ex-<br />

pounding <strong>the</strong> Scriptures to <strong>the</strong> village<br />

infants, was not to be endured, if <strong>the</strong> cure<br />

was by any means attainable.<br />

He had managed to escape every Sunday<br />

during his stay ; as well as an occasional<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen.^ <strong>Navy</strong>.<br />

unpromising week-day ; a telegram supply-<br />

ing him with an excuse each time, and each<br />

time calling him to <strong>the</strong> same direction.<br />

He was even better and more carefully<br />

dressed than usual, as he jumped out <strong>of</strong> a<br />

smokino^ carriage at <strong>the</strong> Charino- Cross<br />

railway station at about 11 a.m. Con-<br />

tinuing to smoke, he strolled leisurely out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> big gates, crossed <strong>the</strong> road, and<br />

keeping away to <strong>the</strong> left, entered Trafalgar<br />

Square. A few members <strong>of</strong> St. Martin-in-<br />

<strong>the</strong>-Fields' congregation were hurrying past<br />

<strong>the</strong> National Gallery, and up <strong>the</strong> steps <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>ir fine old church, as he walked care-<br />

lessly by. They (<strong>the</strong> hurrying worship-<br />

pers), a decrepit vendor <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Matrimonial<br />

Gazette, who—from a mistaken habit <strong>of</strong><br />

assuring pedestrians that he had obtained<br />

a wife through its columns—had hi<strong>the</strong>rto<br />

failed to dispose <strong>of</strong> a single copy, and our<br />

sailor hero perched upon his "sky scraper"<br />

monument, were almost <strong>the</strong> only noticeable<br />

figures, as he kept along on <strong>the</strong> right side


74 Ch um.^ :<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> road, and entered St. Martin's Lane.<br />

Here was life and plenty <strong>of</strong> it, and he soon<br />

had to take to <strong>the</strong> road and wind .his way<br />

carefully through <strong>the</strong> crowd <strong>of</strong> Sunday<br />

street hawkers, who were ready, nay<br />

anxious^ to supply him or *' any o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

gent," with a bird <strong>of</strong> any colour or a dog<br />

<strong>of</strong> any breed, at <strong>the</strong> shortest notice.<br />

The bells <strong>of</strong> old St. Martin's were never<br />

noticed ;<br />

<strong>the</strong> dry tones <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> learned vicar,<br />

<strong>the</strong> eager pleadings <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> most eloquent <strong>of</strong><br />

curates were never heard by <strong>the</strong>m ; but<br />

<strong>the</strong>y could paint <strong>the</strong> common, or garden, or<br />

house sparrow, canary colour ;<br />

or pick you<br />

u]) as " purty a leetle fox-tarrier dorg" as<br />

you'd wish to see. What more would you<br />

have ? Moral tone ! Then<br />

o-o and look for<br />

it amongst <strong>the</strong> natives <strong>of</strong> Sierra Leone,<br />

Jellah C<strong>of</strong>fee, etc., who get it straight from<br />

<strong>the</strong> missionaries, accompanied by clothing<br />

for converted blacks and o<strong>the</strong>r perquisites,<br />

which appertain to it in those parts. We<br />

have to do with enlightened London.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. lb<br />

Assuring <strong>the</strong> various fanciers that he was<br />

not in any immediate want <strong>of</strong> ei<strong>the</strong>r a " dorg<br />

as 'ud fight hke a badger " or "a parrot as<br />

'ud talk Hke a 'uman," Armstrong walked<br />

quickly on to <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> street, where<br />

<strong>the</strong> shops were better and <strong>the</strong> pavement less<br />

crowded, and stopped before number 120,<br />

'' I. Meshach, bird fancier, etc."<br />

The man <strong>of</strong> airy fancies was himself loll-<br />

ing out <strong>of</strong> an upper window <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> premises,<br />

as Armstrong approached and rang <strong>the</strong><br />

bell. He disappeared <strong>the</strong>n, and made a<br />

remark to some o<strong>the</strong>r occupant <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

room, which was answered by a surly<br />

order to shut <strong>the</strong> window and open <strong>the</strong><br />

door and be biowed to him : and not<br />

to make remarks about gentlemen and<br />

Christians.<br />

Mumbling a short sentence in which<br />

reference was made to '' <strong>the</strong> shosen peoplesh "<br />

and donning a long alpaca coat and vel-<br />

vet smoking cap, Mr. Meshach descended<br />

and opened <strong>the</strong> front door. " Valk in


7G Chlums<br />

Captainsh," he mumbled—he always mum-<br />

bled. "Your frient vash expeck you,<br />

ant he'sh none so pleasant ven he<br />

expecksh."<br />

"All right, Meshach, you old nugget.<br />

Bring up <strong>the</strong> requisites," and slipping a<br />

sovereign into <strong>the</strong> Hebrew's ever-clutchino-<br />

palm, he marched on upstairs and entered<br />

<strong>the</strong> room which Meshach had left. There<br />

he found Mr. Jim Lawrence lazily loung-<br />

ing close over <strong>the</strong> fire. A thaw had set<br />

in on Friday night, and <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r was<br />

mild, but Mr. Lawrence was fond <strong>of</strong> getting<br />

his money worth, and (X)als were expensive,<br />

and paid for by <strong>the</strong> week.<br />

" Hulloh ! my<br />

Sunday bird ;<br />

" was his<br />

greeting, as Armstrong, followed by Meshach<br />

with <strong>the</strong> requisites, came in. "How<br />

goes it ? " Armstrong laughed, and took<br />

a seat near <strong>the</strong> fire.<br />

Mr. Meshach fussed about <strong>the</strong> room for<br />

a few minutes, but as nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> men<br />

ap])eared likely to say anything worth


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 11<br />

hearing whilst he was with <strong>the</strong>m, he sup-<br />

posed he " vash best go and see vash<br />

missee better."<br />

"Why, is she ill?" inquired Armstrong,<br />

looking anxiously at Lawrence. That<br />

pattern fa<strong>the</strong>r grinned maliciously.<br />

" Oh, don't be alarmed, my flower," said<br />

he. " It's only <strong>the</strong> little 'un," adding, with<br />

a choice oath to Meshach, that he didn't<br />

care whe<strong>the</strong>r he went to <strong>the</strong> missee or<br />

to <strong>the</strong> devil, so long as he cleared out <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>re pretty sharp.<br />

Armstrong took <strong>the</strong> Jew by <strong>the</strong><br />

shoulders, persuasively, and telling him<br />

to send his daughter or <strong>the</strong> slavey to Miss<br />

Lawrence, pushed him politely out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

room, <strong>the</strong>n, lighting ano<strong>the</strong>r cigar, he sat<br />

down again and proceeded to at once open<br />

his business. " Well !<br />

" said he, " things<br />

have gone on even better than I anticipated.<br />

Do you hear me ? "<br />

Lawrence, without removing his pipe<br />

from his mouth, growled out, " I hear


78 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

you. You're quite interesting as far as<br />

you've got."<br />

" I wish you could contrive to show a<br />

little interest <strong>the</strong>n; you look half asleep!"<br />

" jSTever you mind how I look, captain<br />

we can't all be swells, and go about in<br />

spats and a button-hole." He spoke<br />

gruffly, and took a long pull at his whisky-<br />

and-water.<br />

" Don't get vicious, Mr. Lawrence,"<br />

said his visitor, smilhig good-humouredly.<br />

" As I was saying, things have gone on<br />

well, and we have already paid <strong>of</strong>f our<br />

., old score. By Gad, how we can make use<br />

<strong>of</strong> women. I have sold our friend, Cecil<br />

Monkton, ])roperly, and Miss Ormby and<br />

I are emjaj/ecL What do you say to<br />

that?"<br />

" Good, I say ! Bully for you, my Tulip.<br />

Engaged are you ? Ha ! ha ! I s'pose when<br />

<strong>the</strong> marriage comes <strong>of</strong>f you'll be wanting<br />

me for best man, eh ? But what does he<br />

say to it ? "<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 79<br />

"Not much; he can't say much. He<br />

feels it though, curse him."<br />

" Of course he does, and we're winning,<br />

by tlie Lord Harry I<br />

We're<br />

paymg our<br />

debts. Degraded, am I? and stupid<br />

with drink, am I? That's what he said!<br />

Blest if <strong>the</strong> old drunkard don't help to<br />

score this time."<br />

•'And we'll score more yet, Mr. Law-<br />

rence," said Jack Armstrong, encouragingly,<br />

nodding familiarly to him, and taking a<br />

])ull at <strong>the</strong> mixture.<br />

" Now, about that o<strong>the</strong>r business !<br />

" he<br />

continued, eagerly, and with lowered voice.<br />

" What does Mary say ? Does she believe<br />

<strong>the</strong> I'easons you gave for not letting her<br />

write to Monktcm before? Does she<br />

do you think that she cares for me ?<br />

"<br />

—<br />

The man was thoroughly in earnest now.<br />

" If I could only get her to marry me !<br />

" he<br />

went on. " Do you still think that if I am<br />

<strong>the</strong> means <strong>of</strong> restoring her to her family,<br />

she would like me more ; that she could


80 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

possibly—love me?" His lowered voice<br />

dwelt tremblingly on <strong>the</strong> last words.<br />

" Arrange your own plans, my tulip,"<br />

replied Lawrence, with <strong>the</strong> greatest non-<br />

chalance ;<br />

:<br />

" I have promised to assist you,<br />

for a slight pecuniary consideration ;<br />

remember, assist.'"<br />

please<br />

" I'll double it if you will help me<br />

arrange matters," said Armstrong, im-<br />

petuously.<br />

Mr. Jim's eyes glistened, but he had lived<br />

long, and was eminently cautious.<br />

"No, no, captain," said he ;<br />

"no respon-<br />

sibility. I am not sordid, thank God," and<br />

<strong>the</strong> fellow chuckled over his pr<strong>of</strong>anity with<br />

great gusto, and continued piously, "If I<br />

am <strong>the</strong> humble instrument, under a gracious<br />

providence, and with <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> a<br />

judicious lie or two, in providing a charm-<br />

ing girl with a loving family, well and<br />

good ;<br />

inventing''<br />

but I'll be paid for lying, not for<br />

" As you like," said Armstrong ; " but


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 81<br />

you might oblige me with your opinion<br />

upon just one point. Do you beheve that<br />

if, as we propose—well, well— as I 'propose.,<br />

Mary is received as Vi Ormby's lost sister,<br />

she would agree to marry me after I had<br />

broken <strong>of</strong>f my engagement— quietly, you<br />

know—with Vi ? "<br />

" If she loves you, she'll do anything. I<br />

should think it's scarcely necessary to tell<br />

a man <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> world that^'' sneered Mr.<br />

Lawrence, thinking on, as Mr. Armstrong<br />

remained silent. " You young fool ; you<br />

will be sold too, will you ? She don't love<br />

you, and never will to my thinking. How-<br />

ever, I'll prove anything that brings in <strong>the</strong><br />

dollars ; and as long as you're spooney on<br />

her, <strong>the</strong>re'll be plenty <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, and deuced<br />

little <strong>of</strong> common sense, where shes con-<br />

cerned ; don't I know it well?— don't we<br />

all know it— except just whilst <strong>the</strong> fit lasts !<br />

Your infernal spite against that cursed<br />

high-and-mighty Monkton has made you<br />

get engaged to a gu'l you don't care for


"<br />

S2 aliUlh'i<br />

—I believe I did propose that little<br />

scheme —<br />

Here <strong>the</strong> old man's thoughts found vent<br />

in a low chuckle, but did not disturb Arm-<br />

strong, and he wandered <strong>of</strong>f again, after<br />

replenishing his glass :<br />

— —<br />

" Well, you intend to get <strong>of</strong>f your engage-<br />

ment eventually, and <strong>the</strong>n having given<br />

Mary a good position F hl not good enough<br />

to be your fa<strong>the</strong>r-in-law ; eh, my swell ?<br />

—<br />

as <strong>the</strong> late Mr. Eichard Ormby's daughter,,<br />

and his reverence's niece, you will marry<br />

her instead <strong>of</strong> her sister ! Ah<br />

!<br />

Will you ?<br />

Miss Mary didn't seem so very grieved— <strong>the</strong><br />

ungrateful hussy !—when I told her that<br />

she was no daughter <strong>of</strong> mine ; that I picked<br />

her up at sea, lashed to a grating, and that,,,<br />

until <strong>the</strong> last day or two, I had believed<br />

that her mo<strong>the</strong>r was a mermaid, as no one<br />

had owned her. If this young fool wants<br />

a wife, who, at any rate, owns a proper<br />

name, it certainly seems easy enough to<br />

prove that she is old Ormby's niece ; a


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 83<br />

pretty story about <strong>the</strong> marking <strong>of</strong> her baby<br />

Hnen when found, will do that—ha ! ha !—<br />

but how <strong>the</strong> devil he can expect her to get<br />

spooney on him, especially after his intended<br />

breaking-<strong>of</strong>F with her sister, beats me.<br />

Gratitude will scarcely run to that, I know<br />

it don't run to much, at <strong>the</strong> best <strong>of</strong> times,<br />

in my experience." And Mr. Lawrence<br />

glanced contemptuously across <strong>the</strong> hearth-<br />

rug at Armstrong, who was still deep in<br />

thought.<br />

The younger man's thoughts may also be<br />

put on paper, and were something after this<br />

style : " I have effectually sold that cursed<br />

interfering brute Monkton, even if I do<br />

have a job, at some future time, to escape<br />

my present engagement. He can have my<br />

fiancee after I've cast her <strong>of</strong>f if he likes<br />

I wouldn't marry <strong>the</strong> little wild devil for<br />

any money. Then <strong>the</strong>re's Mary !<br />

Thank<br />

God, it was too dark that night at Gib for<br />

her to recoi^nise me ae^ain here. Who'd<br />

have thought <strong>the</strong>n that I should be such a<br />

;


84 Chturns :<br />

fool—for I suppose I am a fool about it<br />

—<br />

as to want to actually marry her ! She<br />

must 2[et to love me soon as I do her." A<br />

long, delicious sigh escaped him, and<br />

disturbed his thoughts for a minute, but<br />

<strong>the</strong>y soon held him again ; " Why should I<br />

marry a girl who is supposed to be this<br />

old villain's daughter, when, by a decent<br />

outlay <strong>of</strong> coin, I can prove her to be old<br />

Ormby's lost niece ? It's a chance that<br />

may never occur again, <strong>of</strong> getting my<br />

future wife a position ; and, as for <strong>the</strong><br />

idea <strong>of</strong> her not marrying me because I<br />

have been engaged to her newly-found<br />

sister, why, as <strong>the</strong> old scoundrel <strong>the</strong>re<br />

says himself ; if she loves me, she'll do<br />

anything — anything,'' he repeated aloud<br />

and resolutely ; " and she shall love me,<br />

by Gad, she shall."<br />

" Eight you are, my Tulip ! Go<br />

for<br />

her at once ; she's not far <strong>of</strong>f; and I<br />

hope you'll be as successful with her as<br />

you were with <strong>the</strong> late Mrs. A. <strong>of</strong> San


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 85<br />

Koque. Ugly business that, captain."<br />

And Lawrence grinned maliciously.<br />

" Curse you, be quiet !<br />

" exclaimed Arm-<br />

strong, fiercely ; " you are paid for your<br />

silence, and for keeping her child. But, if<br />

you dare to worry me, or attempt any <strong>of</strong><br />

your witticisms about it"—and he moved<br />

close over to Lawrence, and continued,<br />

threateningly— " I'll risk <strong>the</strong> chance <strong>of</strong><br />

people hearing <strong>the</strong> ugly story, as you call it.<br />

After all, what can you prove? Nothing.<br />

Where are your witnesses ? You have<br />

none. You only have your ugly story, and,<br />

as I agree with you that it would be better<br />

to keep that dark, I pay you handsomely.<br />

But, remember, no joking, no chafl on that<br />

subject. It is enough for me"—and he<br />

moved away, and commenced restlessly<br />

pacing <strong>the</strong> floor— " it is enough for me,<br />

that whenever I wish to see <strong>the</strong> woman I<br />

really love, I always find that o<strong>the</strong>r woman's<br />

child staring at me in her inquisitive, know-<br />

all sort <strong>of</strong> a way, as if to ask, ' What is


86 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

your little game now, my worthy papa?'<br />

That's enough for me, so be careful, my<br />

friend !<br />

:<br />

" He stopped his pacing at <strong>the</strong><br />

table, and drank a strono^ glass <strong>of</strong> ^vo^<br />

preparatory to facing <strong>the</strong> woman he loved<br />

and <strong>the</strong> child he hated.<br />

They were in <strong>the</strong> next room, a small<br />

apartment, generally occupied by <strong>the</strong> Me-<br />

shach family, but which had been given up<br />

to Mary and Maggie for <strong>the</strong> day, as Mr.<br />

Lawrence knew that Armstrono- would<br />

want a private interview, and also because<br />

<strong>the</strong> child was seedy—an unpardonable<br />

<strong>of</strong>fence in <strong>the</strong> eyes <strong>of</strong> its adopted fa<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

The little one, looking slightly flushed<br />

and sleepy, was seated on Mary's lap, being<br />

cuddled lovingly, and <strong>the</strong>y were just finish-<br />

ing a Sunday talk about <strong>the</strong> golden image<br />

<strong>of</strong> King Nebuchadnezzar, always a favourite<br />

story with Maggie, on account <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> characters being, as she persistently<br />

believed, <strong>the</strong>ir Mr. Meshach's papa.<br />

"But, couldn't one <strong>of</strong> zose grown-up


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 87<br />

ladies and gent 'men play <strong>the</strong> piano,<br />

mammy?" she asked.<br />

" There were no pianos in those days,<br />

dear ; <strong>the</strong>y played on all <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r instrn-<br />

ments I told you <strong>of</strong> instead."<br />

" How dreffer hot poor Mr. Meshach's<br />

papa must have been in <strong>the</strong> fire-place !<br />

Poor old Mr. Meshach!"<br />

" Oh, no, dear ! I told you that he re-<br />

fused to be wicked, and fall down before<br />

<strong>the</strong> image, because he only Avorshipped <strong>the</strong><br />

true God, ' our Fa<strong>the</strong>r,' you know ; and,<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore, he and <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r two good men<br />

were quite uninjured by <strong>the</strong> fire."<br />

" Oh !<br />

" said Maggie, thoughtfully, " so<br />

you did, mammy, but I— " she lifted up<br />

her face to be kissed, and ]\Lary found<br />

herself wondering what she could say in<br />

case <strong>the</strong> child remarked— which seemed<br />

highly probable—that " she did not believe<br />

it." Luckily, whatever <strong>the</strong> child thought,<br />

she didn't give expression to her unbelief,<br />

but concluded with, "I'm so sorry, but


88 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

I twite fordot." Then ano<strong>the</strong>r happy<br />

thought struck her, and she asked, " Is<br />

Mr. Mont a true God, mammy ? "<br />

" Oh no, dear; he is "only a good, kind<br />

man, and I hope we shall see him again<br />

soon, don't you ? "<br />

" Yes ; but is Mr. Mont ' our Fa<strong>the</strong>r,'<br />

mammy?" queried <strong>the</strong> child, persistently.<br />

" No, no dear," replied Mary, in ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

shocked tones." " Our Fa<strong>the</strong>r, to whom<br />

we pray, is in heaven."<br />

" Oh, yes, <strong>of</strong> tourse he is, I remember.<br />

Then, mammy, I'm afraid you must be<br />

very witted, betos I heard fa<strong>the</strong>r tell<br />

Mr. Armstrong last Sunday that you<br />

worshipped <strong>the</strong> very ground Mr. Mont<br />

trodded on. I'm so sorry, mammy dear."<br />

The little arms were thrown around Mary's<br />

neck to pity her, <strong>the</strong> little voice went on<br />

lovingly, to comfort her. " But I'd ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

be witUd than go into <strong>the</strong> fire, wouldn't<br />

you, manmiy dear ? "<br />

Poor Mary felt as hot and uncomfortable<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queeiis <strong>Navy</strong>. 89<br />

as must <strong>the</strong> stokers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> seven times<br />

heated furnace, but she only buried her<br />

face in <strong>the</strong> child's curls, and sighed. " We<br />

all are wicked I'm afraid, dear, although<br />

God is so good to us. What does he do<br />

for you, Maggie? I told you <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

day."<br />

" He teeps me from harm by night and<br />

by day, and— and— !" Maggie paused.<br />

" Is <strong>the</strong>re anything more to say, dear P "<br />

said Mary ; and <strong>the</strong> child repeated, " He<br />

teeps me from harm by night and by day,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>n He lef,'^ me go,'' she finished<br />

quickly, well pleased with herself.<br />

The door opened just as she finished<br />

her somewhat original addition, and Arm-<br />

strong entered.<br />

Mary knew that he was expected at <strong>the</strong><br />

house, and had been anxiously awaiting<br />

his visit. He shook hands with her<br />

warmly, and smiled tenderly in answer to<br />

her questioning gkmce ; tlien turned to<br />

Maggie. " No lollipops to-day, Miss ISweet-


90 Chum.^ :<br />

tooth ; we must keep <strong>the</strong>m for ano<strong>the</strong>r<br />

time. What is <strong>the</strong> matter with my little<br />

girl?"<br />

" I've dot a bad pain in—in my—in my<br />

— sash,'' said Maggie, woefully, judging a<br />

pause before <strong>the</strong> last word ; <strong>the</strong>n bringing<br />

it out with melancholy satisfaction at <strong>the</strong><br />

correctness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> situation, and— to pre-<br />

vent <strong>the</strong> possibility <strong>of</strong> mistake— pointing<br />

at <strong>the</strong> same time to <strong>the</strong> ribbon which<br />

encircled her waist.<br />

Armstron<strong>of</strong> smiled ; who wouldn't have ?<br />

but since <strong>the</strong>n he has never asked any <strong>of</strong><br />

his very young lady friends, in what<br />

region <strong>the</strong>ir " pain " is situated, youngmen<br />

take warning. Mary, with <strong>the</strong> greatest<br />

difficulty, cleared away a [)ortion <strong>of</strong> her<br />

dress, \vhi(ih had apparently gone quite<br />

out <strong>of</strong> its way to become entangled round<br />

a button in <strong>the</strong> back <strong>of</strong> her chair, and<br />

Armstrono- without <strong>of</strong>Terinii: her <strong>the</strong> slight-<br />

est assistance, sat down, murmuring ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

incoherently, and with not a great amount


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 1)1<br />

<strong>of</strong> pity in his voice, " Poor child ! ah,<br />

yes ! Poor Httle thing ! yes !<br />

This was not satisfactory, and after a<br />

short pause he continued to Mary, in a<br />

sympa<strong>the</strong>tic tone, " Mr. Lawrence has told<br />

you <strong>the</strong> great news, that he is not your<br />

fa<strong>the</strong>r, has he not ? "<br />

" Yes," said Mary ; adding eagerly,<br />

'' but he has not told me who my<br />

parents are. He told me that he picked<br />

me up at sea, lashed on top <strong>of</strong> a wooden<br />

grating ; that he could not discover<br />

anything about my people, though he<br />

tried very hard to do so, and that he<br />

decided upon bringing me up himself;<br />

thinking, no doubt," she added, with as<br />

much bitterness as her sweet nature had<br />

ever expressed, " that I might be made<br />

useful. Young as I was, I can remember<br />

something <strong>of</strong> that dreadful shipwreck, so I<br />

can believe that part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> story easily<br />

and I think, indeed, I am almost certain<br />

that T should recognise again <strong>the</strong> one lady<br />

"<br />

;


92 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

who is always associated in my mind with<br />

that time, and who must be my mo<strong>the</strong>r. I<br />

can remember children too, but I don't<br />

fancy that I saw much <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, and <strong>the</strong><br />

first thing that I recollect at all distinctly<br />

is being in lodgings with my fa<strong>the</strong>r—Mr.<br />

Lawrence I mean—in London, and being<br />

sent to school regularly when I was six or<br />

seven years old."<br />

"You have led a strange life for a lady,"<br />

said Armstrong, in tones <strong>of</strong> deep interest,<br />

" and I am more pleased than 1 can tell<br />

you to know that to me has been left <strong>the</strong><br />

happy task <strong>of</strong> discovering your parents."<br />

Mary looked at him, anxiously, and started<br />

slightly in her chair, but Maggie is asleep<br />

and must not be disturbed, so Mary sits<br />

still, as Armstrong continues, with much<br />

feeling, " yes, dear Miss Lawrence, I have<br />

discovered Avho your parents ivere^ for I<br />

grieve to tell you that both are dead."<br />

Mary sighed, but did not speak, and Arm-<br />

strong hurried on. '• The clo<strong>the</strong>s you had<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 93<br />

on when picked up were marked M.O."<br />

— God forgive you, Jack Armstrong— "as<br />

Lawrence is prepared to swear "—God for-<br />

give you, Jim Lawrence— "and I having<br />

heard your story from your supposed fa<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

you will forgive me taking so great an<br />

interest in you, will you not? and also <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>tale</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> shipwreck from ano<strong>the</strong>r family?<br />

immediately thought that you might be one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir lost relations ; <strong>the</strong> lost niece <strong>of</strong><br />

Mr. Ormby, <strong>of</strong> Westfield ; <strong>the</strong> lost sister <strong>of</strong><br />

Dicky and Vi Ormby."<br />

Mary could not re]:)ress an exclamation<br />

<strong>of</strong> glad surprise. " What !<br />

' she cried,<br />

" young Mr. Ormby's sisier ? The Nipper's<br />

sister ? Oh !<br />

Mr. Armstrong, how can I<br />

thank you sufficiently?"<br />

" We won't speak <strong>of</strong> thanks, my dear<br />

Miss Ormby," said Armstrong, with a smile,<br />

which was answered brightly by Mary ;<br />

" at<br />

least, not yet,"" he thought to himself before<br />

he continued aloud. " My suppositions<br />

proved correct, and <strong>the</strong>re is no doubt what-


94 Ch urns<br />

ever that you are <strong>the</strong> daughter <strong>of</strong> Mr.<br />

Eichard Ormby—who was lost in <strong>the</strong><br />

wreck <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Eupert, whilst liomeward<br />

bound from <strong>the</strong> West Indies—and <strong>the</strong>refore<br />

niece <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Eev. John Ormby, now<br />

vicar <strong>of</strong> Westfield,—and sister <strong>of</strong> Dicky<br />

and Yi. Your memory must play you<br />

false in one or two particulars," he<br />

continued ; thinking that he had better<br />

persuade her if possible, to forget all<br />

about <strong>the</strong> lady she liad mentioned, and<br />

who, he thought, was, in all probability,<br />

really her mo<strong>the</strong>r. " Mr. Eichard Ormby<br />

lost his wife, your mo<strong>the</strong>r, before he<br />

left Barbadoes; in fact, shortly after Yi<br />

and Dicky were born, so that <strong>the</strong><br />

woman you remember, and imagine to<br />

have been your mo<strong>the</strong>r, must have been<br />

<strong>the</strong> nurse."<br />

"Yes, I suppose so," said Mary, ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

sadly. She had always thought <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

lady, as her mo<strong>the</strong>r— " and yet, it seems<br />

strange, but, even now, I can almost hear<br />

:


^4 Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. \) 5<br />

her calling me her ' precious one,' and her<br />

' own darhng child.' "<br />

" Merely a nurse's terms <strong>of</strong> endearment,"<br />

said Armstrong, quickly. " I should dis-<br />

miss all such fancies now, if I were you, and<br />

look forward to <strong>the</strong> meeting with your<br />

relations."<br />

" Oh ! when shall it be, Mr. Armstrong ?<br />

Very soon ? "<br />

" Yes ; I hope in a day or two. We<br />

must prepare <strong>the</strong> Ormbys a little, you<br />

know. I am staying with <strong>the</strong>m now, and<br />

will arrange all that. Mr. Lawrence had<br />

great difficulty in finding your baby clo<strong>the</strong>s,<br />

which had been left with some <strong>of</strong> his things<br />

in London." How glibly <strong>the</strong> story came<br />

now. " And we did not wish to stir in<br />

<strong>the</strong> matter until we were certain <strong>of</strong> your<br />

identity. It was on account <strong>of</strong> that wish<br />

that Mr. Lawrence forbade you writing to<br />

Monkton, to let him know <strong>of</strong> your<br />

arrival in England, for he is constantly<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Vicaracre. Althouoh," and Arm-


9


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 97<br />

ting boosily over <strong>the</strong> fire. Luckily, all<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir arrangements were completed ; I say<br />

luckily^ for Mr. Lawrence, at this time, was<br />

scarcely capable <strong>of</strong> arranging anything ;<br />

dis-<br />

arrangement was more in his line as he sat<br />

—steadily boosing in his arm-chair ; his<br />

wooden leg perched on a chair before him,<br />

it's fleshy " opposite member " resting on<br />

<strong>the</strong> fender, his collar and waistcoat un-<br />

buttoned, his necktie—nowhere !<br />

"Hullo ! m' Tulip" he exclaimed, boister-<br />

ously, as Armstrong entered, and walked<br />

towards <strong>the</strong> fire place. " Glad t' see ye.<br />

Shundy again, I sh'pose ! Seems t' come<br />

round deush'd quick ! Don't it, m'<br />

flower?"<br />

" I have explained to Mary all that we<br />

considered it necessary for her to know,"<br />

said Armstrong, surlily, feeling how useless<br />

it was to talk to <strong>the</strong> old rascal now.<br />

" D' you kiss 'er, m' flower ? " hiccupped<br />

Mr. Lawrence, removing his tumbler from<br />

his lips after having quite decided that it<br />

VOL. II. II


98 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

was empty, and replacing it slowly, and<br />

with great caution, upon <strong>the</strong> extreme edge<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> table.<br />

"No," replied Armstrong angrily. "Kiss<br />

her ! Certainly not." And he took up<br />

his hat and gloves, and moved towards <strong>the</strong><br />

door.<br />

" B'cause" resumed Mr. Lawrence, slowly,<br />

and with much dignity ; " F' you'd kissed<br />

'er I sh'd think it 'ncumbent 'pon me as<br />

Chrish'n gentlem'n to 'mand—I shay to de-<br />

mand'— your 'ntention ! S'help me ! Kiss<br />

th' book." And he looked towards <strong>the</strong><br />

place where Armstrong had been standing ;<br />

but <strong>the</strong> latter had made his exit, and,<br />

discovering that he was alone, <strong>the</strong> Chris-<br />

tian gentleman murmured, thoughtfully,<br />

" Dev'lish rum !<br />

:<br />

Can't be Shundy again<br />

aft'r all. Cert'nly thought I saw m' Tulip<br />

though ! Nerves slightly d'sordered s'pose !<br />

Dose P'retic Saline !<br />

to more drinks<br />

though.<br />

—<br />

" And he settled down<br />

not <strong>of</strong> Pyretic Saline


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 99<br />

Armstrong returned to Westfield late<br />

that evening, but not until Tuesday did<br />

he tell <strong>the</strong> Ormbys <strong>of</strong> his well-arranged<br />

discovery.<br />

H 2


CHAPTEE Y.<br />

DON'T feel quite equal to giving a<br />

full and particular account <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong><br />

doings and sayings, <strong>the</strong> embracings<br />

and heart-felt gladness <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> interested<br />

parties, in <strong>the</strong> various meetings on that<br />

eventful Wednesday ; when Mary was re-<br />

ceived into <strong>the</strong> bosom <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Ormby family.<br />

Dicky and Yi had, <strong>of</strong> course, been wild<br />

to have her down, or to go to her, <strong>the</strong><br />

moment Armstrong- told <strong>the</strong>m <strong>of</strong> his o-reat<br />

discovery, on Tuesday ; but he had persuaded<br />

<strong>the</strong>m to be patient, and wait. Who<br />

could describe that Wednesday ? Arm-<br />

strong, plausible and untruthful; Lawrence,<br />

sanctimonious and untruthful ; Dicky and<br />

Yi, wildly demonstrative ;<br />

monstrative ;<br />

Mary, quietly de-<br />

Mr. Ormby, garrulous—except


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>, 101<br />

concerning his lost bro<strong>the</strong>r—and Maggie,<br />

in <strong>the</strong> most trying stage <strong>of</strong> infantile excite-<br />

ment.<br />

There, you have <strong>the</strong> principal members<br />

arrange <strong>the</strong>m as you like ;<br />

you know what<br />

had been proved, and <strong>the</strong> arrangements<br />

for provmg it quite well enough to fill in<br />

<strong>the</strong> tears <strong>of</strong> joy and without any far<strong>the</strong>r<br />

assistance.<br />

The only little hitch, during <strong>the</strong> day,<br />

arose when <strong>the</strong> time came for deciding<br />

what was to be done with Maggie. Mary<br />

had insisted upon bringing her to West-<br />

field—much against Armstrong's wish<br />

— ;<br />

and was very anxious that <strong>the</strong> little adopted<br />

sister should be allowed to remain <strong>the</strong>re<br />

too. Mr. Ormby was afraid <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ad-<br />

ditional expense, but gave way when he<br />

found that no nurse would be required,<br />

and, to <strong>the</strong> great delight <strong>of</strong> Mary, Vi and<br />

Dicky, and <strong>the</strong> intense disgust—hardly to<br />

be disguised— <strong>of</strong> Jack Armstrong ; Miss<br />

Maggie—still retaining <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong> Law-


102 ChIII Ias<br />

rence—was admitted into <strong>the</strong> Vicarage<br />

household. The bro<strong>the</strong>r-in-law in pros-<br />

pective, had by no means calculated on<br />

<strong>the</strong> child's constant presence at Westfield.<br />

What he had been anxious for, and what<br />

he had now succeeded in obtaining, was a<br />

position for Mary. His future plans, we<br />

helped him think over, in <strong>the</strong> last chapter,<br />

and it was very bitter to him to learn<br />

that even here he was to be followed by<br />

Maggie's inquisitive looks.<br />

When <strong>the</strong> Lawrences had first returned<br />

to London from Gibraltar— and Mr. Jim<br />

had lost no time in finding him out, and<br />

imparting to him <strong>the</strong> ugly story <strong>of</strong> San<br />

Eoque— he had met Mary again; had taken<br />

care to meet her <strong>of</strong>ten ; and had really<br />

fallen in love ; honestly, passionately, in<br />

love with her—for <strong>the</strong> time at any rate<br />

:<br />

—<br />

and she had never recognised in him <strong>the</strong><br />

man who had frightened lier on <strong>the</strong> Al-<br />

meida at Gibraltar.<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Monkton and Cecil dined


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> (2ueens <strong>Navy</strong>. 103<br />

at <strong>the</strong> Vicarage that Wednesday evening.<br />

It was Cecil's last day <strong>the</strong>re for some<br />

months ; and, delighted as he was at seeing<br />

Mary and Maggie again, he was far from<br />

feeling satisfied at <strong>the</strong> startling events <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> day. He thought it most unnecces-<br />

sary that Mary should have been forbidden<br />

to let him know <strong>of</strong> her arrival in Eng-<br />

land ; he distrusted Armstrong, and knew<br />

Lawrence to be a villain. In <strong>the</strong> face <strong>of</strong><br />

Lawrence's story <strong>of</strong> how he had found<br />

her, and <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> initials marked upon her<br />

clo<strong>the</strong>s, it was impossible to doubt that<br />

Mary was <strong>the</strong> lost Miss Ormby ; besides,<br />

<strong>the</strong>re appeared to be no reason wdiy <strong>the</strong><br />

two men who had proved her so should<br />

have wished to do so falsely ; still he<br />

was sorry to leave whilst such great<br />

changes Avere taking place. Mrs. Monkton<br />

was languidly rejoiced at everybody's good<br />

fortune, but kept a watchful eye upon her<br />

step-son, and speedily decided that she<br />

must get him to propose to lady Blanche


104 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

Merewea<strong>the</strong>r—her own choice—as soon as<br />

he returned from his dreadful voyage. As<br />

she plaintively put it to her hardly-used<br />

self, it was no good having got Vi safely<br />

out <strong>of</strong> his way if he was to be caught by<br />

her Ocean-given sister. " She looks so<br />

confidingly at him that she must imagine<br />

<strong>the</strong> game to be in her owm hands," thought<br />

<strong>the</strong> Lady <strong>of</strong> Tremlett ; " and what an in-<br />

nocent, trusting expression she has ; it is<br />

wonderful. What a loss for <strong>the</strong> stage.<br />

Now <strong>the</strong>re's that great annoying Cecil<br />

whispering to her again, and how she<br />

blushes. It is perfect. How can she do<br />

it? Ah ! I suppose we all could at eighteen.<br />

I verily believe that a naval <strong>of</strong>ficer would<br />

fiirt with anyone, rich or poor, high or<br />

low, black or white. Fancy kissing a<br />

bJack ; and that horrid Mr. Daintree says<br />

he likes it ; and actually raved to me <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r day about <strong>the</strong>ir pouting or clinging<br />

lips, I forget which. Merciful heavens!"<br />

and <strong>the</strong> lady shuddered.<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Qaeeiis <strong>Navy</strong>. 105<br />

There was yet more excitement in store<br />

for <strong>the</strong>m before that eventful day ended.<br />

Scarcely had <strong>the</strong>y commenced dinner<br />

when a telegram arrived from one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

assistant paymasters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Duke to Dicky,<br />

teUing him to return from leave as soon as<br />

possible, as he was appointed to H.M.S. Star,<br />

a corvette just commissioned as commo-<br />

dore's ship on <strong>the</strong> Cape <strong>of</strong> Good Hope and<br />

West Coast <strong>of</strong> Africa station.<br />

More indescribable emotions ; smo<strong>the</strong>red<br />

curses against <strong>the</strong> admiralty ; execrations<br />

at <strong>the</strong> service ; devilings <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sea.<br />

" And yet," cried Yi, in <strong>the</strong> acme <strong>of</strong> aston-<br />

ishment ! " <strong>the</strong>y marry, ye spinsters and<br />

bachelors ! These naval wanderers actually<br />

have <strong>the</strong> nerve to ask girls to marry <strong>the</strong>m ;<br />

<strong>the</strong>se men, <strong>of</strong> whom one may safely aver<br />

that one never knows when one may<br />

have <strong>the</strong>m, where one may have <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

or for how long one may have <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

They are <strong>the</strong> most unsatisfactory people<br />

to knoAv anything <strong>of</strong>; and if any <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m


106 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

slioiild ever dare to ask me to enefao'e<br />

myself to him, I'd — box his ears," con-<br />

cluded <strong>the</strong> excited young damsel.<br />

" Under existing circumstances," said Mr.<br />

Monkton, with a smile, " <strong>the</strong>y would hardly<br />

expect a more satisfactory reply, dear."<br />

Yi blushed, and looked stupid. Her<br />

engagement had been totally forgotten<br />

when she spoke. She turned ra<strong>the</strong>r shyly<br />

towards Armstrong, but only to find his<br />

eyes fixed upon Mary, and that he was<br />

apparently utterly unconscious that he<br />

had a betro<strong>the</strong>d, or that she had just for-<br />

gotten all about <strong>the</strong>ir recent engagement.<br />

"Isn't it a shame, darling ?" she said,<br />

just glancing from Jack Armstrong to<br />

Mary, and <strong>the</strong>n addressing her uncle, who<br />

was as usual seated next her. " They are<br />

all down upon poor little me ; even our<br />

boy, who is being sent away again so soon,<br />

darling, has nothing to say for his charm-<br />

ing but unappreciated sister."<br />

The old man replied by a cunning smile.<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 10?<br />

He had been very quiet and thouglitful<br />

since <strong>the</strong> telegram arrived, and now, seizing<br />

Yi's arm, he said in an eager whisper,<br />

" We won't k't him go Vi ; he must ?mn.<br />

That's our plan, isn't it, Yi? I had it all<br />

arranged a minute ago, but I don't see<br />

it so clearly now ; so you must manage it.<br />

Why, if I had not deserted, I should be<br />

a soldier to this day, as I've <strong>of</strong>ten told<br />

you. I remember, as if it happened yes-<br />

terday, I had broken out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ranks to<br />

have a drink <strong>of</strong> w^ater, and— I was only<br />

a private, you know— and <strong>the</strong> wea<strong>the</strong>r was<br />

very close, and so I — I broke from <strong>the</strong><br />

ranks, and We icoiit let him go, will<br />

we, Yi ? " faltered <strong>the</strong> old man, breaking-<br />

down completely.<br />

" We'll run toge<strong>the</strong>r, won't we, uncle ?"<br />

said Dicky ; but his eyes never left his<br />

plate, and his lips quivered as lie spoke.<br />

His uncle answered not a word, but he<br />

laid his shaking hand on <strong>the</strong> Nipper's head,<br />

and prayed God to bless his boy, as Yi


108 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

rose from her chair ; and, quieting him as<br />

she so well knew how, led him upstairs,<br />

and saw him comfortably settled in his<br />

own room.<br />

Dicky's ship was not to leave England for<br />

a couple <strong>of</strong> weeks, and he would have<br />

several days' leave before sailing, so that his<br />

good-byes would not have to be spoken<br />

just yet. He had a capital skipper, too, in<br />

his new ship—-Captain Le Hunte—who had<br />

just been appointed commodore at <strong>the</strong> Cape.<br />

Cecil bade <strong>the</strong> Ormbys farewell that<br />

night, and started for Portsmouth by <strong>the</strong><br />

first train in <strong>the</strong> mornmg ; and as <strong>the</strong>re is<br />

generally plenty <strong>of</strong> " fun, diversion, and<br />

amusement " in an Indian trooper, we can't<br />

do better than make <strong>the</strong> trip to India with<br />

him.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> our old friends will be <strong>the</strong>re<br />

also, Daintree, <strong>of</strong> course. The old doctor<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Thanderbomb, who had tried hard<br />

to escape his appointment ;<br />

Blanche Button,<br />

going as a private friend <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> captain's,<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 109<br />

under <strong>the</strong> wing <strong>of</strong> her married sister,<br />

Margaret Faulkner, and Captain Hawthorne,<br />

late <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 150th, now <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 160th<br />

Fusiliers.<br />

It was Friday morning before Cecil<br />

Monkton and Daintree reported <strong>the</strong>mselves<br />

to <strong>the</strong> senior lieutenant—troop ships don't<br />

carry commanders— <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Tigris, as<br />

having come on board to join; but as she<br />

was not to sail until <strong>the</strong> following Tuesday,<br />

no troops had embarked, and <strong>the</strong> naval<br />

element alone was represented. The huge<br />

saloon was comparatively deserted ; troop<br />

ships carrying few naval <strong>of</strong>ficers, no young-<br />

sters.<br />

On Monday morning <strong>the</strong> scene changes.<br />

" Tommy Atkins " and his <strong>of</strong>ficers, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

wives, children, and baggage, embark, ac-<br />

companied by swarming friends and<br />

relations, who come, seemingly, to in-<br />

crease <strong>the</strong> confusion, and cause man}^<br />

a black mark against naval <strong>of</strong>ficers to<br />

be made m <strong>the</strong> " Defaulters' book,""


no aaims<br />

Avhich is kept always under way, up<br />

" top-side."<br />

Why can't <strong>the</strong>y say good-bye, wipe<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir eyes, and endeavour to wash <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

handkerchiefs with <strong>the</strong> rest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir dirty<br />

linen, at home f But that Avould never do ;<br />

<strong>the</strong> pageant would be completely ruined ;<br />

and <strong>the</strong>refore we must strive for contentment,<br />

counting " wailing and lamentation "<br />

as merely a necessary appendage to <strong>the</strong><br />

pomp and circumstance <strong>of</strong> possible wars.<br />

Daintree was <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, as on<br />

Thursday <strong>the</strong> Tigris prepared to cast <strong>of</strong>f<br />

from <strong>the</strong> railway jetty in Portsmouth<br />

dockyard.<br />

It was 11.0 a.m. ; all <strong>the</strong> troops and<br />

etceteras for India were on board, and in<br />

ten minutes more, visitors, with <strong>the</strong> excep-<br />

tion <strong>of</strong> a few friends <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> naval <strong>of</strong>ficers<br />

who were going to Spi<strong>the</strong>ad in <strong>the</strong> ship,<br />

would have to go on shore.<br />

The paymaster had finished his last<br />

argument—until to-morrow—with Mrs.<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen s <strong>Navy</strong>. 1 11<br />

Deputy Surgeon-General Adams, Avho<br />

ranked, according to date <strong>of</strong> commission,<br />

Avitli Mrs. Colonel, and didn't see why, and<br />

wouldnt see why, she shouldn't have an<br />

equally good cabin. The paymaster had<br />

<strong>the</strong> arrangement <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>se delicate little<br />

matters. Poor paymaster ! his life for <strong>the</strong><br />

first few days <strong>of</strong> each trip was not all<br />

sunshme ; his path was all unstrewn with<br />

roses ; he rarely emerged from his cabin<br />

except on duty ; he found it dangerous to<br />

do so.<br />

" Please sir," said a military <strong>of</strong>ficer's ser-<br />

vant, saluting Daintree, and holding out<br />

what appeared to be a case <strong>of</strong> cartridges<br />

*' Please sir, my master told me to give<br />

you this to take care <strong>of</strong> for him. He<br />

thinks you'd better to 'ave it stored away<br />

in <strong>the</strong> ship's magazine."<br />

" The devil he does ! " exclaimed Daintree.<br />

"Well I atn blessed! And who<br />

might your master be, my man?"<br />

" Second-lieutenant Black, sir, 160th<br />

;


112 Chium:<br />

Fusiliers," replied <strong>the</strong> servant, withdrawing<br />

<strong>the</strong> outstretched hand and case, and again<br />

saluting, as it began to dawn upon his pri-<br />

vate-soldierly intellect that <strong>the</strong>re was some<br />

mistake somewhere.<br />

" Ah " ! said Daintree, " well, tell Second-<br />

lieutenant Black, <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 160th Fusiliers,<br />

that <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day will be glad to<br />

speak to him at his earliest convenience ;"<br />

adding to himself, " shall I have a row with<br />

<strong>the</strong> young noodle, or stand him a drink ?<br />

Less bo<strong>the</strong>r to stand,— yes, we'll make it a<br />

drink."<br />

Away went <strong>the</strong> servant, and our old<br />

friend. Captain Hawthorne, who was acting<br />

as adjutant <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> troops on board, and<br />

who had heard what had passed, went up<br />

to Daintree ra<strong>the</strong>r anxiously.<br />

" I say, old fellow," said he ; " don't run<br />

him in too much ;<br />

start for us."<br />

it would be such a bad<br />

" Eun him in," laughed Daintree, " not I.<br />

I'm going to run <strong>the</strong> contents <strong>of</strong> a small


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Qiteens <strong>Navy</strong>. 113<br />

bottle into him though, if you've no ob-<br />

jection, you must help me congratulate<br />

him on being <strong>the</strong> coolest fish I've ever met,<br />

afresh water or salt "<br />

" That's all right, I was afraid by your<br />

sending for him that you were riled. He's<br />

awfully young and green, just joined, and<br />

probably thought that <strong>the</strong>re was only a<br />

warrant or a petty <strong>of</strong>ficer on duty in har-<br />

bour. Here he comes," added Hawthorne,<br />

as a smooth-faced, youthful subaltern, look-<br />

ing very uncomfortable, came towards <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

Two or three <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> senior subalterns had<br />

heard <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> joke <strong>of</strong> his sending his<br />

cartridges to be taken care <strong>of</strong> by one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> naval lieutenants, and had succeeded<br />

in frightening him considerably.<br />

" I must apologise, sir," he commenced<br />

to Daintree, but was quickly cut short by<br />

" yes, by Jove, I should think you ought<br />

to, come into <strong>the</strong> saloon, and I'll receive<br />

your apologies over a liquor. Come along,<br />

Hawthorne, you'll join us."<br />

VOL. II.<br />

I


114 <strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

Corks were flying merrily inside, many<br />

chums having a last drink toge<strong>the</strong>r. There<br />

too, on <strong>the</strong> opposite side to <strong>the</strong> entrance<br />

door, away from <strong>the</strong> traffic and some <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> din, were two old majors bidding fare-<br />

well to <strong>the</strong>ir married daughters, whose<br />

husbands were standing, ra<strong>the</strong>r sheepishly,<br />

on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> table. Widowers<br />

—and assuredly when in India to be<br />

counted as childless—was it strange that<br />

<strong>the</strong> fa<strong>the</strong>rs' grey heads should be bowed<br />

in <strong>the</strong>ir last few moments, and that even<br />

a few soldiers' tears should break out <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> guard-room.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> poop is many a parting ; parents<br />

and children, bro<strong>the</strong>rs and sisters, lovers^<br />

friends, and relations.<br />

" God bless you, Willie, my dear boy,"<br />

falters a grand-looking old lady, who is<br />

standing on <strong>the</strong> fore part, her arms tightly<br />

clasped around her son's neck, as she kisses<br />

him again and again ; whilst he, forgetful<br />

<strong>of</strong> brand new uniform, aye, even <strong>of</strong> "soldierly


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 115<br />

bearing," scarcely dares trust himself to<br />

bid her " good-bye."<br />

" Come, cheer up, Emily ; you make <strong>the</strong><br />

boy quite down in <strong>the</strong> mouth," says <strong>the</strong><br />

hearty old gentleman, on whose arm she<br />

leans, and who had turned away, not many<br />

seconds ago, just to wipe his spectacles, and<br />

<strong>the</strong>n observe most attentively a lamp-post<br />

on <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> jetty<br />

<strong>the</strong> boy back," he continued<br />

—<br />

" We'll soon have<br />

someone had<br />

to speak— "home again, well and jolly ;<br />

eh,<br />

Will? Good-bye! my boy." Then comes<br />

such a hand clasp, and fa<strong>the</strong>r and mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

move slowly towards <strong>the</strong> entry port. But<br />

once more <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r turns, and strains her<br />

boy to her ; <strong>the</strong> " God bless you " is un-<br />

heard this time, unless it was brea<strong>the</strong>d in<br />

that sob—<strong>the</strong> only sound that escapes her<br />

quivering lips. With handkerchief closely<br />

pressed to her eyes, she allows herself to be<br />

led away by her husband, and <strong>the</strong> youngster,<br />

walking to <strong>the</strong> poop rails, leans over <strong>the</strong>m,<br />

sadly— as many ano<strong>the</strong>r bent figure around<br />

I 2


116 Chiims<br />

him is doing—until <strong>the</strong> excitement <strong>of</strong> steam-<br />

ing out <strong>of</strong> harbour arouses everyone.<br />

" Wlio is that dear httle sfirl, cryino- as if<br />

her sixteen-year-old heart would break ? "<br />

asked Daintree, as he found himself along-<br />

side Blanche Dutton, and her sister, on <strong>the</strong><br />

after part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> poop.<br />

" Hasn't she a sweet expression, doctor ?"<br />

he added, to old Giles, whom we met in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Thmiderhomb^ and who had just been<br />

pitching into a sergeant's wife—acting as<br />

nurse for <strong>the</strong> cruise—for allowing one <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> children to almost disappear down <strong>the</strong><br />

saloon skylight. Old Giles shuffled quickly<br />

along. " What ? sweet, d'ye call it, eh ? "<br />

he exclaimed, angrily ;<br />

:<br />

and Daintree would<br />

have heard something <strong>of</strong> what sweetness<br />

really was, had not <strong>the</strong> old doctor, seeing<br />

Blanche close by, declined an argument<br />

with his usual warmness, and trotted on.<br />

" What a horrid old fellow !<br />

" said Blanche.<br />

" Who is he, Mr. Daintree ? "<br />

" He's our fleet surgeon ; you won't see


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 117<br />

much <strong>of</strong> him, if he can help it. But, touch-<br />

ing <strong>the</strong> young one ? What about her ? "<br />

" Not much ; poor httle thing !<br />

" said<br />

Blanche. "She has just left school, and I<br />

don't think has much to cry for. She is<br />

going out to her fa<strong>the</strong>r, a Colonel Stewart,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> mo<strong>the</strong>r goes too. They said good-<br />

bye to all <strong>the</strong>ir English friends long ago, so<br />

she is only crying because everyone else is<br />

hard at it."<br />

" Affectionate, impressionable creature !<br />

exclaimed Daintree. "I think, do you<br />

know, that, as a sort <strong>of</strong> host, don't you<br />

know, it would only be civil to try and<br />

cheer her up a bit. A crumb <strong>of</strong> comfort<br />

to ' bread and butter ' in distress ! eh ?"<br />

" Most creditable feeling, I'm sure,"<br />

laughed Blanche. "1 will help you ad-<br />

minister it. Come along, Maggie, we will<br />

both assist to scatter crumbs." Miss Effie<br />

Stewart was soon laughing as gaily as she<br />

had before been sobbing convulsively.<br />

"And is it really true, that I shall have<br />

"


Ii8 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

to sit next to you at every meal, all <strong>the</strong><br />

way ? " she asked, in reply to a remark <strong>of</strong><br />

Daintree's, that he was told <strong>of</strong>f to take<br />

special care <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> single ladies.<br />

"Yes, no escape," he said, "unless we<br />

find that you talk too much, or lose your<br />

appetite ;<br />

in which case, we have a dear old<br />

doctor, who will be delighted to take you<br />

under his charge. Miss Dutton will be op-<br />

posite, with a capital fellow, belonging to<br />

us, Cecil Monkton."<br />

" It will be glorious fun," said Blanche<br />

" mind you take care <strong>of</strong> me, Maggie. Ah !<br />

now we are <strong>of</strong>f! "<br />

,<br />

The gang-board creaks and groans, as it<br />

is shoved clear <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> side, and lowered<br />

upon <strong>the</strong> jetty. The securing chains are let<br />

go, <strong>the</strong> screw makes a rush round, <strong>the</strong>n—as<br />

if it knows <strong>the</strong> work it has before it— settles<br />

down to its revolutions slowly and sedately,<br />

and Her Majesty's troop-ship Tigris breasts<br />

<strong>the</strong> flood tide, and steams down <strong>the</strong> harbour.<br />

A shout goes up from <strong>the</strong> great-coated<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 119<br />

swarm which lines <strong>the</strong> fore part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n a waving <strong>of</strong> hats and handkerchiefs,<br />

an answering cheer from <strong>the</strong> jetty, and be-<br />

fore <strong>the</strong> sobs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> women have a chance<br />

<strong>of</strong> again becoming audible, <strong>the</strong> band strikes<br />

up ''liule liritannia," followed by "The<br />

Brititsh Grenadier," and we pass <strong>the</strong> Duke<br />

<strong>of</strong> WeUiiiLjton, flag-ship <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> commander-<br />

in-chief, where some half-dozen fellow^s,<br />

witli glasses raised, are looking out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

ward-room ports to criticise <strong>the</strong> " Indian<br />

lot." Tlie old Victory, with her compliment<br />

<strong>of</strong> two men and a boy, sent from <strong>the</strong> Duke,<br />

to do all <strong>the</strong> '' charing " and drop a tear<br />

value two shillings, possibly, half-a-cr^wn<br />

—<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y silently point to <strong>the</strong> spot where<br />

Nelson fell. The ISt. Vincent, and <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong><br />

mouth <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> harbour is reached, and we<br />

keep along <strong>the</strong> sou<strong>the</strong>rn beach, passing-<br />

Victoria pier, close to <strong>the</strong> old tSally Tort,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> ^Sou<strong>the</strong>rn pier ; <strong>the</strong> sight <strong>of</strong> which<br />

latter promenade, and <strong>the</strong> thought <strong>of</strong> how<br />

long it must be ere she can again repel a


120 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

too ardent, or attract a too diffident admirer<br />

upon its boards, proves almost too much<br />

for Miss Blanche Dutton.<br />

As slow our ship her trembling track<br />

Against <strong>the</strong> wind is cleaving,<br />

Her trembling pennant still look'cl back<br />

To that dear land 'twas leaving<br />

So loath to part from all we love,<br />

From all <strong>the</strong> links that, bind us<br />

So turn our hearts as on we rove<br />

To those we've left behind us.<br />

" Moore knows how to put it nicely for<br />

us, doesn't he?" said Cecil, who had just<br />

left his station forward, and now joined our<br />

group.<br />

" Ah, Mr. Monkton, you have an appro-<br />

priate bit <strong>of</strong> poetry for every occasion."<br />

Cecil smiled as Mrs. Faulkner spoke.<br />

Slie had believed that he meant all his<br />

quotations once.<br />

It is far too cold a day for ei<strong>the</strong>r lolling<br />

on <strong>the</strong> sand or strolling on <strong>the</strong> pier, and<br />

with <strong>the</strong> exception <strong>of</strong> an enthusiastic wave<br />

from <strong>the</strong> umbrella <strong>of</strong> old retired Com-<br />

mander Sternfast, who is enjoying his<br />

constitutional roll ; and a long shot from<br />

;


A 2^ale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 121<br />

<strong>the</strong> catapult <strong>of</strong> Master Jack, his nephew,<br />

which luckily falls short and unnoticed,<br />

save by a shrill cry, and "Wouldn't I warm<br />

ye," from Mrs. Corporal Macpherson, who<br />

has observed <strong>the</strong> dastardly attempt, we<br />

plunge along almost unheeded. I say<br />

plunge advisedly, for <strong>the</strong>re is a decided<br />

swell on, and <strong>the</strong> little knots <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> " Out-<br />

ward Bound " are gradually breaking up ;<br />

<strong>the</strong> gentlemen to fortify <strong>the</strong>mselves with a<br />

modicum <strong>of</strong> brandy, <strong>the</strong> ladies pi^obably to<br />

do ditto, but ostensibly to see that <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

things are all right, and <strong>the</strong>k dear children<br />

comfortable. As regards <strong>the</strong> latter, if such<br />

is <strong>the</strong>ir present condition, let us trust that<br />

<strong>the</strong>y may soon be intensely o<strong>the</strong>rwise, for<br />

comfort with <strong>the</strong>m, judging from <strong>the</strong><br />

sounds that force <strong>the</strong>mselves through <strong>the</strong><br />

door, through <strong>the</strong> port, through each<br />

separate jalousie <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> nursery, must<br />

mean Babel—pure, shrill, unadulterated<br />

Babel. At Spi<strong>the</strong>ad, we stop for a short<br />

time to send <strong>the</strong> pilot and few remaining


122 Chim.^<br />

visitors bacic in <strong>the</strong> dockyard tug, and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

we enter <strong>the</strong> Solent. Here <strong>the</strong> ship is<br />

steady again, and people begin with one<br />

consent to clamour for luncheon. The old<br />

stagers, mysteriously hatted, wonderfully<br />

clo<strong>the</strong>d, have been seated in readiness for<br />

<strong>the</strong> last half-hour. Now, <strong>the</strong> ladies' cabin<br />

in <strong>the</strong> saloon, next door to <strong>the</strong> " precious<br />

ones" nursery, and <strong>the</strong> dove cot also— as<br />

its name suggests—^a ladies' cabin on <strong>the</strong><br />

main deck, are besies^ed bv o-allant<br />

husbands.<br />

•' May I come in, dear F' coolly demands<br />

<strong>the</strong> warrior at <strong>the</strong> door.<br />

" No, no. Certainly not,'' rises in indig-<br />

nant tones from everyone but that special<br />

warrior's wife.<br />

'' Annie, my love." This in a tone <strong>of</strong><br />

entreaty—Blake had been only married a<br />

fortnight. " You had better try and eat<br />

something, dear ; we<br />

:<br />

are quite quiet now."<br />

Little Mrs. Blake and young Mrs.<br />

Faulkner — our brides — are <strong>the</strong> first to


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 123<br />

appear, coming up from <strong>the</strong> dove-cot. It<br />

should never be said that <strong>the</strong> voice <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

" hubbies " had been heard in vain. The<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r doves—Blanche Button and Effie<br />

Stewart — are still with Daintree and<br />

Monkton.<br />

The poop would be deserted but for that<br />

rug-muffled figure, visible upon one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

seats right aft, and consisting <strong>of</strong> two indis-<br />

tinct portions, each representing, perhaps<br />

Dr. Adams, <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> A.M.D., perhaps <strong>the</strong> wife<br />

<strong>of</strong> his bosom. Toge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y elevate <strong>the</strong><br />

rug ; toge<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong>y slide towards <strong>the</strong> rails ;<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r—but never mind. Have <strong>the</strong>y not<br />

promised to " keep each otlier in sickness<br />

and health ?" It apparently has not been<br />

suggested to <strong>the</strong>m that <strong>the</strong> marriage service<br />

says nothing about keeping o<strong>the</strong>r people<br />

sick, or <strong>the</strong>y would surely seek <strong>the</strong>ir cabin.<br />

To us it appertaineth to make this sugges-<br />

tion, and we make it in <strong>the</strong> cause <strong>of</strong> scenery<br />

and forgetfuhiess. Approaching <strong>the</strong> ruggy<br />

mound, we cough ; we speak gently and


—<br />

124 CIturns<br />

persuasively ;<br />

:<br />

finally, we suggest, blandly yet<br />

forcibly, as is our happy way, and—we<br />

meet with our reward. Dr. and Mrs.<br />

Adams' rug is lost to sight in No. 1 horse<br />

box i.e., main deck, mid-ship cabin. How<br />

its owners existed until we were across<br />

<strong>the</strong> Bay ; what <strong>the</strong>y eat, drank, thought<br />

about, or did, was a pr<strong>of</strong>ound mystery<br />

even to <strong>the</strong> neighbouring horse boxers.<br />

Many were <strong>the</strong> opinions hazarded, many<br />

<strong>the</strong> hints given. At length, with that<br />

quick perception <strong>of</strong> ways and means which<br />

belongs superabundantly to inmates <strong>of</strong><br />

pandemonium—<strong>the</strong> lower deck cabins—<br />

junior subaltern made a proposal, which<br />

was carried by acclamation. To him was<br />

immediately accorded <strong>the</strong> honour <strong>of</strong> carry-<br />

ing it into execution. With <strong>the</strong> tip,<br />

cautious, he approached <strong>the</strong>ir servant,<br />

obtained an answer, and our minds were at<br />

rest. That answer, dear reader, is unpub-<br />

hshed; <strong>the</strong> subject <strong>of</strong> which it treats is<br />

unrecorded amongst <strong>the</strong> pleasures <strong>of</strong> life<br />

a


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 125<br />

in a trooper. The fore part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> upper<br />

deck is also almost deserted, <strong>the</strong> men<br />

having gone below to <strong>the</strong>ir dinners, and<br />

two wives only remaining propped up on<br />

<strong>the</strong> wooden seats which run alonor <strong>the</strong><br />

starboard side for <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> women.<br />

Mrs. Corporal Macpherson was one, her in-<br />

ternal arrangements being presumably in a<br />

state <strong>of</strong> mutiny, for she confided to her<br />

neighbour, Mrs. Bombardier O'Flynn, that<br />

she was obliged to refuse her victuals,<br />

as " her stummick was that turned and<br />

upset, she could keep nothink on it."<br />

The captain and navigating lieutenant,<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r with Sir Ge<strong>of</strong>frey Eiling, colonel<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 160th, left <strong>the</strong> bridge—Captain<br />

Braddon always allowed field <strong>of</strong>ficers and<br />

ladies <strong>the</strong>re—and went down to luncheon ;<br />

Lieutenant Coxwell—<strong>the</strong> Thin'un—remain-<br />

ing in charge, with his military <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> watch, on <strong>the</strong> poop. Luncheon goes<br />

on merrily enough until <strong>the</strong> ship passes<br />

<strong>the</strong> Needles and out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Solent. Then


126 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

<strong>the</strong> lamps begin once more <strong>the</strong>ir uneven,<br />

drunken swing ; <strong>the</strong> chairs and plates<br />

slide, and <strong>the</strong> younger ladies, invigorated<br />

by " fiz," and unsteady only by reason <strong>of</strong><br />

lacking " sea legs," stagger <strong>of</strong>f under <strong>the</strong><br />

somewhat erratic guidance <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir gallant<br />

husbands. No refusal <strong>of</strong> admittance to<br />

<strong>the</strong> ladies' cabin now ; <strong>the</strong> wives have<br />

already agreed that in times <strong>of</strong> misery,<br />

like <strong>the</strong> present, petty forms <strong>of</strong> delicacy<br />

must be pitched overboard, and husbands<br />

allowed in, if it's only to bring food and<br />

sustaining kisses. So, for <strong>the</strong> next few<br />

days, <strong>the</strong> Misses Dutton and Stewart<br />

—<br />

not liking to be ungracious, and refuse<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir consent to any such arrangements<br />

— are in a perpetual state <strong>of</strong> little<br />

frightened feminine shrieks and hurried<br />

disappearances beneath <strong>the</strong> bed-clo<strong>the</strong>s.<br />

They soon got used to it, for, as Mrs.<br />

Bartram said—her husband is <strong>the</strong> senior<br />

captain— "What does it matter, my dear?<br />

If you can't look upon <strong>the</strong>m quite as


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 127<br />

stewards—and what a dreadfully plain<br />

man ours is, to be sure—you can always<br />

think <strong>the</strong>y're parsons or doctors," an<br />

idea which brought great comfort to <strong>the</strong><br />

shocked maidens. Those mysteriously<br />

garmented old campaigners are not driven<br />

under cover for some time, but at last<br />

even <strong>the</strong>y disappear, with <strong>the</strong> single<br />

exception <strong>of</strong> one remarkably stout old<br />

party—Mrs. Quartermaster —who, sup-<br />

ported on ei<strong>the</strong>r side by a youthful,<br />

plump, and apparently whole miss, has<br />

taken up her position upon <strong>the</strong> stern<br />

cushions, whence she smiles genially and<br />

approvingly upon <strong>the</strong> natives (^f <strong>the</strong><br />

lower deck, as, with distorted features, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

one by one rush below : and whence,<br />

also, at eacli roll, she glides s<strong>of</strong>tl}^ and<br />

easily beneath <strong>the</strong> table amidships, only<br />

to be extricated by her plump progeny<br />

with <strong>the</strong> shi]:)'s backward motion ; still<br />

wearing her genial smile, ever en-<br />

couraging <strong>the</strong>m to do likewise.


128 Chitms,<br />

So she and her progeny smile ! so time<br />

and <strong>the</strong> ship roll on ! until <strong>the</strong> dinner-gong<br />

sounds. One table, and that not a long<br />

one, suffices for that night's dinner-party<br />

and its sole occupants are naval <strong>of</strong>ficers<br />

and a few, a very few, <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> oldest " old<br />

Indians."<br />

;


^l^^gE<br />

^Itfjl^<br />

CHAPTEE VI.<br />

cross that dreadful bay safely,<br />

and with a reasonable amount <strong>of</strong><br />

comfort. Once more we have a<br />

passing look at <strong>the</strong> Eock, and, after about<br />

ten days at sea, we arrive at Malta. People<br />

know each o<strong>the</strong>r fairly well by this time.<br />

Each maiden has her special friend, so,<br />

needless to say, has each grass widow, and<br />

a considerable sprinkling <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wives.<br />

Daintree finds his command—<strong>the</strong> single<br />

ladies—by no means a sinecure. As usual<br />

in H.M's troopships, <strong>the</strong> ladies' admirers<br />

are, for <strong>the</strong> most part, naval men.<br />

Those dear creatures—<strong>the</strong> ladies, I mean<br />

—are fond <strong>of</strong> quiet returns for <strong>the</strong>ir sweet-<br />

ness ; and <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ship can add<br />

materially to <strong>the</strong>ir comforts. Do <strong>the</strong>y want<br />

VOL. II. K


130 Chmms<br />

a novel ? The naval <strong>of</strong>ficer's cabin is well<br />

supplied. Would <strong>the</strong>y like a walk on <strong>the</strong><br />

bridge ? Who so safe an escort as <strong>the</strong> naval<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer? ''Will it blow to-night? Is it<br />

likely to blow to-morrow night, or <strong>the</strong><br />

night after ? When shall we anchor at<br />

Bombay ? Do you think that my husband<br />

Avill come on board at once ? Might I take<br />

Willie to see <strong>the</strong> sheep ? What opera will<br />

be on at Malta?" All <strong>the</strong>se questions <strong>the</strong><br />

naval <strong>of</strong>ficer is prepared to answer promptly<br />

and with decision And <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> soldier<br />

:<br />

—<br />

ladies' man though he be, in a general way<br />

—somehow does not care for <strong>the</strong> society <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> ladies <strong>of</strong> his own particular regiment.<br />

Very polite is Old Jinks,—one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

senior captains <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 160th, and not more<br />

than five years older than <strong>the</strong> " chief,"<br />

excessively polite is Old Jinks in his morn-<br />

ing salute, and his tender morning inquiries<br />

concerning <strong>the</strong> regimental matron's health,<br />

<strong>the</strong> regimental children's comfort ; but <strong>the</strong><br />

duty questions over. Old Jinks feels for <strong>the</strong>


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 131<br />

cigar-case in <strong>the</strong> innermost recesses <strong>of</strong> his<br />

patrol jacket, and, smiling his pleasantest,<br />

edges s<strong>of</strong>tly away from <strong>the</strong> last-joined fasci-<br />

nation, to enjoy his morning baccy, and<br />

give this advice to <strong>the</strong> youngsters on <strong>the</strong><br />

smoking part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> poop :<br />

—<br />

" If you want<br />

peace, or, to put it better, if you dont want<br />

constant rows, avoid chummeyising with<br />

<strong>the</strong> regimental woman-kind. I've seen <strong>the</strong><br />

folly <strong>of</strong> it." Jinks is an old bachelor, cer-<br />

tainly, and has suffered his first tinge <strong>of</strong><br />

gout since we entered <strong>the</strong> Mediterranean<br />

but he's a man <strong>of</strong> parts, and a prime<br />

favourite in his regiment, so no one de-<br />

spises his advice, as he lights his weed and<br />

passes on <strong>the</strong> slow-match.<br />

But to-day, Friday, we anchored at ten<br />

a.m. in <strong>the</strong> Grand Harbour, Malta, having<br />

passed within sight <strong>of</strong> Algiers on Tuesday<br />

last amid general excitement, and, after<br />

having spent hours during <strong>the</strong> last week<br />

in arranging possible holiday programmes<br />

for our stay at Valetta, shall we waste<br />

k2<br />

;


13-2 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

—<br />

time tramping <strong>the</strong> poop? No. Ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

let us, hoping we do not intrude, attach<br />

ourselves to what promises to be <strong>the</strong><br />

most cheery party <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> many now<br />

parading—that's a good trooping word<br />

at <strong>the</strong> entry port.<br />

Our gallant skipper. Colonel Sir Ge<strong>of</strong>frey,<br />

and Lady Riling, Mrs. Stewart and her<br />

daughter, Major and Mrs. Faulkner with<br />

Blanche Button, and Monkton, and Dain-<br />

tree, are going to make a day <strong>of</strong> it toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

We all go <strong>of</strong>f in <strong>the</strong> steam cutter, and<br />

cleave our way through dhysos innumer-<br />

able to <strong>the</strong> Hungry steps.<br />

Five minutes interview with Michael<br />

and Sons, to make arrangements for pur-<br />

chasing oranges, <strong>the</strong>n a drive to <strong>the</strong> Shade<br />

Reale, and more purchases ; this time,<br />

gloves, bangles, lace, and cigarettes from<br />

Morich and Co., <strong>of</strong> Palace Square, and<br />

Michael Borg and tribe. How our friends<br />

are fleeced, especially <strong>the</strong> men, in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

great bargains in gloves, sweets, and scents


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Quee7is <strong>Navy</strong>. 133<br />

for <strong>the</strong>ir fair messmates, it needs not to<br />

describe. We are in Malta—enough.<br />

Mihtary uniforms, and priestly garbs<br />

are common, and <strong>the</strong> wearers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

former, as <strong>the</strong>y toil up <strong>the</strong> steps <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

various stradas, wish, I'm certain, that<br />

" good form " permitted <strong>the</strong>m to carry<br />

canes sufficiently long to be <strong>of</strong> even <strong>the</strong><br />

slightest use to <strong>the</strong>m. The navy is, to<br />

all appearances, but scantily rejoresented,<br />

although as some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Mediterranean<br />

fleet are here now, <strong>the</strong>re is no scarcity <strong>of</strong><br />

naval <strong>of</strong>ficers ; <strong>the</strong> reason is, that <strong>the</strong><br />

latter are not obliged to appear in <strong>the</strong><br />

streets <strong>of</strong> Yaletta in uniform.<br />

A general titter arises amongst our<br />

jmrty as Ave wander—is it <strong>the</strong> twelfth<br />

or thirteenth time ^ -past <strong>the</strong> entrance to<br />

<strong>the</strong> club, and descry ap[)roaching us, an<br />

already well-known pair.<br />

He is a senior subaltern, site is a grass<br />

widow. He is tall, very tall. His legs<br />

are long, very long, and lengthy in his


134<br />

Chum,s<br />

stride. She is short, absurdly short.<br />

Her limbs are doubtless in perfect pro-<br />

portion, and <strong>the</strong> cou]:)le make a pretty pic-<br />

ture as he, from his six feet two inches<br />

elevation, looks down, with a certain air<br />

<strong>of</strong> protection and interest, upon <strong>the</strong> little<br />

figure at his side, whose upturned eyes<br />

beam bewitchingly in <strong>the</strong> distance, whose<br />

upraised face wears a happy expression<br />

<strong>of</strong> appropriation, and whose lower ex-<br />

tremities " break into double time " at<br />

about his every third step. Merrily she<br />

trots, sedately he stalks hj, and we take<br />

care to extinguish all outward and visible<br />

signs <strong>of</strong> rairtli, for she is —well, she is<br />

small, and sure to be vicious.<br />

Daintree observed for general informa-<br />

tion that if he was that young party's<br />

proprietor, he'd put several hundred miles<br />

and many " sickly stations " between her<br />

and <strong>the</strong> six-footer on <strong>the</strong>ir arrival in<br />

India. The captani smiled, and asked<br />

Mrs. Stewart if she did not think Mr.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 135<br />

Daintree's sentence would be too severe.<br />

Mrs. Stewart's reply appeared to be duly<br />

appreciated, but we—who were with her<br />

daughter—did not hear it. Miss Button<br />

and Miss Stewart were loud in tlieii<br />

denunciations <strong>of</strong> married flirts, and Mrs.<br />

Faulkner simply could not understand how<br />

women could do such a thing. Where-<br />

upon that intrepid major, her husband,<br />

seizes her dear little hand, at what he<br />

believes to be a favourable moment, and<br />

squeezes it fondly— glove and all, to <strong>the</strong><br />

ra})turous glee <strong>of</strong> three at least <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

party.<br />

Stranoe o that some <strong>of</strong> our friendsvery<br />

much married, or about to be so<br />

—<br />

seem to imagine that if <strong>the</strong>y seize one <strong>of</strong><br />

her hands -<strong>the</strong>re is cmly (me Iter and only<br />

two hands -and stroke it tenderly, with-<br />

out looking that way <strong>the</strong>mselves, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

skilful manoeuvre is bound to pass unob-<br />

served. Shall we ever come to that?<br />

" Wait, and you'll see,*' as your mamma


136 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

told you not a score <strong>of</strong> years ago, in<br />

answer to your <strong>of</strong>t-repeated query, " What<br />

is <strong>the</strong>re for pudding?"<br />

There goes Mrs. Bartram, chatting and<br />

laughing gaily with two <strong>of</strong> her most<br />

ardent admirers ; <strong>the</strong> one, Brown, an<br />

artilleryman ; <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r, Jones, an en-<br />

gineer ; both returning to India from sick<br />

leave. Take notice <strong>of</strong> this case <strong>of</strong> Brown<br />

and Jones, almost <strong>the</strong> only one known in<br />

<strong>the</strong> trooping service <strong>of</strong> a gunner and<br />

sapper managing to saddle horses. The<br />

hatred <strong>of</strong> each o<strong>the</strong>r which <strong>the</strong>y are in<br />

duty bound to feel as representatives re-<br />

spectively <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> gunning and sapping<br />

interests, is counteracted by <strong>the</strong>ir hatred<br />

as rivals in admiration, and <strong>the</strong>y maintain<br />

a state <strong>of</strong> armed neutrality. There is<br />

something wrong in to-day's arrangements,<br />

for both are absorbed in admiration at<br />

<strong>the</strong> same time. Close on <strong>the</strong>ir heels, and<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten joining pleasantly in <strong>the</strong>ir conversa-<br />

tion, comes <strong>the</strong> inevitable Maltese black-


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen,^^ <strong>Navy</strong>. 137<br />

guard, loaded with parcels. In rear again,<br />

gazing vacantly into shop windows, won-<br />

dering how long he is to be dragged about<br />

<strong>the</strong> streets, also whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> subalterns are<br />

good for <strong>the</strong> luncheon, saunters wearily<br />

<strong>the</strong> lady's husband.<br />

But deuced little fun is to be got out <strong>of</strong><br />

Valetta, at all events, by people who merely<br />

wish to make a day <strong>of</strong> it, so if you will<br />

kindly believe that <strong>the</strong> lunch was good* and<br />

— according to that most reliable authority,<br />

Daintree—<strong>the</strong> afternoon drive considerably<br />

better ; and also kindly arrange to your own<br />

satisfaction <strong>the</strong> occupants <strong>of</strong> each carriage,<br />

we will look in at <strong>the</strong> club and read <strong>the</strong><br />

papers, whilst <strong>the</strong>y visit St. John's chapel,<br />

<strong>the</strong> armoury, <strong>the</strong> Capuchins, and everything<br />

else <strong>of</strong> interest. Most <strong>of</strong> our messmates<br />

fetch on board to dinner, as <strong>the</strong>y have to<br />

dress for <strong>the</strong> opera.<br />

Naval and military <strong>of</strong>ficers appear <strong>the</strong>re<br />

in mess uniform ''' by order," and iii <strong>the</strong><br />

stalls from choice. A few— principally on


138 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

account <strong>of</strong> having ladies with <strong>the</strong>m— occu])y<br />

boxes, and everyone <strong>of</strong> high or low situa-<br />

tion seems to enjoy " Faust " once more.<br />

It was raining hard when Mephistopheles,<br />

taking <strong>the</strong> arm <strong>of</strong> his unwilling chum,<br />

Faust, disappeared in blue flame, en route<br />

to <strong>the</strong> banks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Styx, and going <strong>of</strong>f in<br />

boats to <strong>the</strong> ship was almost as unpleasant<br />

a journey, especially for <strong>the</strong> ladies. "Our<br />

brides " indeed were not allowed to venture<br />

on <strong>the</strong> dee]), <strong>the</strong>ir husbands thinking it<br />

safer for <strong>the</strong>m to remain on shore that<br />

night, at <strong>the</strong> hotel. Considei-ate fellow^s !<br />

They remained on shore, Uxf.<br />

To those who arrived on board wet and<br />

ra<strong>the</strong>r miserable, at 11.30 p.m., wdiat could<br />

be more acceptable or absolutely necessary,<br />

than a small drop <strong>of</strong> something warm ;<br />

particularly as, although <strong>the</strong> bar ^vas<br />

closed. Monk ton had a sup})ly <strong>of</strong> that need-<br />

ful something. Our maiden messmates<br />

were quite sure <strong>the</strong>y should be " so most<br />

awfully tipsy," but even <strong>the</strong> certainty <strong>of</strong>


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 139<br />

arriving at that remarkable stage <strong>of</strong> intoxi-<br />

cation did not materially affect <strong>the</strong>ir con-<br />

sumption <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> liquor. It was only because<br />

Mrs. Stewart and dear Mrs. Bartram wished<br />

it though ; simply because <strong>the</strong>y wished it.<br />

It was " after hours," and <strong>the</strong> ladies' cabin<br />

was lighted only by one " extra " lamp,<br />

when its occupants retired. The two newly-<br />

mated birds being on shore, Blanche and<br />

Eifie— <strong>the</strong> remaining doves-^deserted <strong>the</strong><br />

nest, '<br />

and<br />

were found room for in tlie<br />

bunks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> saloon cabin. What wonder-<br />

ful creatures ladies are, in <strong>the</strong> matter <strong>of</strong><br />

"finding room"" for each o<strong>the</strong>r, if <strong>the</strong>y<br />

wish.<br />

After <strong>the</strong>y had drawn tlieir curtain,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> usual undre>%sing conversazione had<br />

commenced behind it, Coxwell, <strong>the</strong> num <strong>of</strong><br />

ponderous bulk, was seized with a sudden<br />

conviction that this was his birthday, and<br />

rushed to his cabin, whence he shortly<br />

emerged, beaming, with <strong>the</strong> accumulated<br />

happiness <strong>of</strong> thirty summers, and bearing


140 <strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

a plentiful supply <strong>of</strong> various drinks. Who<br />

could shirk so plain a duty ? Who could<br />

avoid drinking <strong>the</strong> Thin'un's health? No one<br />

even thought <strong>of</strong> raising <strong>the</strong> question ; <strong>the</strong><br />

lantern was rephiced in <strong>the</strong> centre <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

table, and a select and enthusiastic few<br />

grouped <strong>the</strong>mselves around it. Merrily<br />

coursed <strong>the</strong> liquor down, cheerily slid <strong>the</strong><br />

bottles, until <strong>the</strong>re was silence in <strong>the</strong> ladies'<br />

cabin, and, forgetting its proximity, Haw-<br />

thorne proceeded to relate, with singular<br />

attention to detail, an amusing experience<br />

<strong>of</strong> his " day in Yaletta."<br />

" Ah-heh-hem !<br />

"— ^a cough <strong>of</strong> surpassing<br />

significance, released too surely from <strong>the</strong><br />

throat <strong>of</strong> Mrs. Stewart, brought <strong>the</strong> story<br />

to an abrupt conclusion, and <strong>the</strong> select few<br />

wore shame-faced aspects by <strong>the</strong> flickering-<br />

light <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lantern. Silently <strong>the</strong>y rose to<br />

depart, when a faint titter—was Brown, <strong>the</strong><br />

gunner, romancing when he swore that<br />

he would know Mrs. Bartram's laugh any-<br />

where ?—was heard, and as its welcome


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. \ 4<br />

sound fell on <strong>the</strong>ir ears, ano<strong>the</strong>r soothing<br />

surprise completely o'erflooded <strong>the</strong>m, and,<br />

for <strong>the</strong> second time that evening, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

" outer-mans " had to stand a wet. Was<br />

this to be stood without retaliation ?<br />

Scarcely. But, after a whispered consul-<br />

tation, it was decided to choose some<br />

o<strong>the</strong>r evening for settling <strong>the</strong> little account,<br />

and all would have been peaceful to-night,<br />

had not <strong>the</strong> too observant Daintree de-<br />

tected a piece <strong>of</strong> possible sport, in <strong>the</strong><br />

shape <strong>of</strong> a blanket, <strong>the</strong> corner <strong>of</strong> which<br />

protruded temptingly through <strong>the</strong> metal<br />

work on <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bulkhead ; having<br />

probably been kicked <strong>of</strong>f by tlie fair inmate<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> top bunk during a particularly<br />

powerful attack <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> "sweet repose" so<br />

invariably allowed to her sex.<br />

Standing upon <strong>the</strong> bent backs <strong>of</strong> Coxwell<br />

and Hawthorne, Daintree, discoverer and<br />

would-be pilferer, approached with caution<br />

<strong>the</strong> coveted spoil. A moment <strong>of</strong> supreme<br />

expectation folloAved, as he seized it gently.<br />

1


142 Churns<br />

and commenced with care to drag it down-<br />

wards. But lie was not to have it all his<br />

own way, for <strong>the</strong> ladies, more than ever on<br />

<strong>the</strong> alert since <strong>the</strong> suspicious silence on <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r side, were quite equal to <strong>the</strong> occasion,<br />

and after <strong>the</strong> first few inches gained, he could<br />

obtain no more. Ea<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> opposite, as<br />

in <strong>the</strong> excitement <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> moment, and his<br />

eagerness for loot, he shifted his position<br />

from Coxwell's back to his head, and, pro-<br />

bably, lit upon a more than ordinarily s<strong>of</strong>t<br />

part <strong>of</strong> it ; for with a feeling " Oh, I say<br />

d n it all ;<br />

:<br />

" <strong>the</strong> Thin'un fell forward as<br />

flat as was possible for a man <strong>of</strong> his well<br />

rounded proportions; and <strong>the</strong> ever-luckless<br />

Daintree was left clinging desperately to<br />

six inches <strong>of</strong> blanket.<br />

Still hoping to drag it out, he held on<br />

bravely, when additional weight was ap-<br />

plied on tlie o<strong>the</strong>r side, drawing him up<br />

close to <strong>the</strong> bulkhead, and, if Hawthorne<br />

had not seized him round <strong>the</strong> waist and<br />

remained hanging too, he must have ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

;


A Tale uf <strong>the</strong> (^leeris <strong>Navy</strong>. 143<br />

l^t <strong>of</strong>o at once or have followed <strong>the</strong> blanket<br />

through to its owner's bunk. The latter<br />

alternative being physically, and—need I<br />

add—morally impossible. With Hawthorne<br />

attached, <strong>the</strong> weights on ei<strong>the</strong>r side were<br />

evenly balanced, but it is not in human<br />

nature for a fellow to hang on to <strong>the</strong> end<br />

<strong>of</strong> a blanket, with ano<strong>the</strong>r fellow suspended<br />

round his waist, for any great length <strong>of</strong><br />

time, and so Daintree soon discovered, for<br />

with a considerate admonition to " stand<br />

right under," he relinquished his hold, and<br />

was folded in Hawthorne's embrace, as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

rolled on <strong>the</strong> deck toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

What had happened to <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r scale<br />

could only be guessed at by <strong>the</strong> anxious<br />

listeners, as <strong>the</strong> sound <strong>of</strong> descending bodies<br />

was succeeded, without delay, by a couple<br />

<strong>of</strong> ominous bumps, and <strong>the</strong> spirited clatter<br />

<strong>of</strong> well-practised tongues.<br />

Could that be <strong>the</strong> usually cheery voice<br />

<strong>of</strong> Mrs. Bartram ;<br />

that vexed tone we hear<br />

exclaiming, " Do get up, Blanche. I'm


1 44 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

quite smo<strong>the</strong>red under that great blanket."<br />

Undoubtedly, it could be ; undoubtedly, it<br />

was, and it did not improve as it con-<br />

tinued<br />

—<br />

" You can't be hurt ; you didn't fall out<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> top bunk."<br />

" No, I didn't," retorted Blanche in du-<br />

bious tones. " But 3^ou came down on top<br />

<strong>of</strong> me, and I think !—I'm quite certain that<br />

I've broken one <strong>of</strong> my les^s." And <strong>the</strong><br />

dubiousness <strong>of</strong> tone almost decided in<br />

favour <strong>of</strong> tears.<br />

" Nonsense, child," said Mrs. Bartram,<br />

petulantly.<br />

A rustling <strong>of</strong> bed clo<strong>the</strong>s from <strong>the</strong> inner<br />

side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cabin was now audible to <strong>the</strong><br />

listeners at <strong>the</strong> door, as Miss EfRe Stewart<br />

left her sanctuary, and joined her bosom<br />

friend upon <strong>the</strong> deck, expressing her<br />

opinion, without delay, that none <strong>of</strong> her<br />

darling's limbs seemed to be very much<br />

broken. Apparently, <strong>the</strong> two continued to<br />

mingle <strong>the</strong>ir tears and laughter toge<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 145<br />

on <strong>the</strong> deck, for <strong>the</strong> last remark overheard<br />

bj <strong>the</strong> birthday keepers, as <strong>the</strong>y crept<br />

stealthily away, was from Mrs. Stewart, and<br />

implied that if those girls did not get up<br />

and go to bed again at once, she should<br />

insist upon <strong>the</strong>ir going down to <strong>the</strong>ir proper<br />

cabin, <strong>the</strong> dove-cot.<br />

Daintree, who had stolen <strong>of</strong>f with <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>rs, thought it possible to obtain more<br />

sport yet, and returned for a parting shot.<br />

Tapping at <strong>the</strong> door sharply, he sang out,<br />

in disguised tones, " Lights out in <strong>the</strong><br />

cabin, ma'am !<br />

ma'am."<br />

Lights out in <strong>the</strong> cabin,<br />

" Oh, wait one minute, please, steward ;<br />

have only one httle light." This request<br />

came in imploring accents from Mrs. Bar-<br />

tram, who, fixr away from <strong>the</strong> door, had<br />

been deceived by <strong>the</strong> voice.<br />

" Werry sorry, ma'am," repHed our act-<br />

ing steward, " werry sorry to disoblige a<br />

lady ; but orders is orders, likewise lights<br />

is lights, and must be put out accordingly."<br />

VOL. II.<br />

I


146 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

" Oh, Mr. Daintree ! you<br />

horrid man !<br />

exclaimed <strong>the</strong> lady, as, having put <strong>the</strong> lamp<br />

out, she recognized <strong>the</strong> voice, too late.<br />

" I'll never forgive you, never.'" And, grop-<br />

ing her way towards Blanche, she con-<br />

tinued in a whisper, which was certainly<br />

not intended to reach <strong>the</strong> door, " Blanche<br />

dear, give me one <strong>of</strong> your biscuits,<br />

please do. That wretched man made me<br />

swallow <strong>the</strong>m both so quickly that I<br />

had nothing ready to take <strong>the</strong> taste away.<br />

Ugh !—Oh for <strong>the</strong> very tiniest nob ot<br />

"<br />

sugar !<br />

" You shall have <strong>the</strong> very biggest one<br />

you can find, and put it down to my<br />

account in <strong>the</strong> morning," said Daintree, in<br />

his most sympa<strong>the</strong>tic tones. "They say<br />

that yam is <strong>the</strong> best thing, if you only have<br />

it handy. But perhaps you haven't."<br />

" Ugh ! you wretch, go away," gasped<br />

<strong>the</strong> sufferer, and, feeling satisfied with <strong>the</strong><br />

latter part <strong>of</strong> his entertainment, <strong>the</strong><br />

" wretch " replied ])olitely, " T have to<br />

"


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 147<br />

thank you for a most pleasant evening,"<br />

and went.<br />

Several <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ladies were late at break-<br />

fast <strong>the</strong> next morning, and when <strong>the</strong>y did<br />

appear, seemed ill at ease. However, a<br />

judicious administration <strong>of</strong> neat three-<br />

cornered notes, and respectfully tender inquiries,<br />

soon put things straight. What<br />

wouldn't women forgive— at sea?<br />

An interesting ceremony took place<br />

shortly after that same happy reconcilia-<br />

tion ; interesting, simply from its kindly<br />

meaning, and as shoAving <strong>the</strong> right good<br />

fellowship existing amongst our messmates,<br />

male and female. Soon after 10 o'clock<br />

—<br />

<strong>the</strong> ship being under orders to sail at 10.30<br />

precisely—a party <strong>of</strong> young <strong>of</strong>ficers lined<br />

<strong>the</strong> trancrwav on ei<strong>the</strong>r side and, strano-elv<br />

enough, just as <strong>the</strong>y took up <strong>the</strong>ir posi-<br />

tions, " our brides," with <strong>the</strong>ir husbands,<br />

came alongside and up <strong>the</strong> ladder. It <strong>the</strong>n<br />

became evident that an unobtrusive feeling<br />

<strong>of</strong> anxiety concerning <strong>the</strong> welfare <strong>of</strong> those<br />

L 2


148 Chum.^<br />

young people, left all alone in that distant<br />

land, and in a strange hotel for a whole<br />

nierht, was <strong>the</strong> sole cause <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> unwonted<br />

assembly :<br />

for as <strong>the</strong> ladies came on board<br />

each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir thoughtful friends saluted<br />

gravely, and with much solicitude ; <strong>the</strong>n^<br />

satisfied apparently that <strong>the</strong>re was no<br />

reason for fur<strong>the</strong>r uneasiness, said, " Good<br />

morning, so glad to see you again ;<br />

" and<br />

ra<strong>the</strong>r hurriedly—almost as if afraid that,<br />

<strong>the</strong> strain once relaxed, <strong>the</strong>ir delight might<br />

become obtrusive—retired.<br />

What <strong>the</strong>re could possibly be, in this<br />

simple and courteous welcome, to throw <strong>the</strong><br />

recipients into sudden and, one might say,<br />

pamful confusion, we, who had gladly con-<br />

sented to take part in <strong>the</strong> demonstration,<br />

were unable to see. Mrs. Bartram looked at<br />

us for several seconds, in some such manner<br />

as one would regard a long-tailed rabbit or<br />

a humpless camel ; when, thinking that as<br />

a married woman she might explain matters,<br />

we applied to her. She did not say much^


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 149<br />

merely advising us to ask Lady Eiling. We<br />

did not ask Lady Eiling, because we were by<br />

no means spooney on her or her conversa-<br />

tion. Again, why <strong>the</strong> ladies became so noisy,<br />

directly after Mrs. Bartram went into <strong>the</strong><br />

cabin, that <strong>the</strong> first-lieutenant had to send<br />

down from <strong>the</strong> poop, in <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong><br />

prayers, to ask <strong>the</strong>m to kindly stop laughing,<br />

was certainly unknown to us, although that<br />

marvellous woman, Mrs. B., insisted upon<br />

our being in <strong>the</strong> joke, and, after dinner,<br />

actually whispered us, behind her fan, that<br />

we were "really too bad," and had nearly<br />

been <strong>the</strong> death <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m all by so shame-<br />

fully chaffing poor Mrs. Faulkner and Mrs.<br />

Blake for sleeping on shore. Extraordinary<br />

person.<br />

Nothing <strong>of</strong> much importance happened<br />

for <strong>the</strong> hrst few days after our leaving<br />

Malta. It is true that httle Mrs. Blake,<br />

who read poetry and adored her husband,<br />

became violently hysterical one evening, be-<br />

cause <strong>the</strong> brute told her that " <strong>the</strong> way she


150 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

was going on with Coxwell, a married man,<br />

too, was disgraceful, and he'd be hanged if<br />

he'd stand it." Coxwell wanted her to act,<br />

and <strong>the</strong>y liad read over a play toge<strong>the</strong>r.<br />

Such is <strong>the</strong> confidence <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> newly married.<br />

It is true, too, that <strong>the</strong> white paint at <strong>the</strong><br />

back <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wheel house was so kicked and<br />

rubbed <strong>of</strong>f by people sitting toge<strong>the</strong>r on <strong>the</strong><br />

rails around that secluded spot after sunset,<br />

that a rope was ordered to be lashed across<br />

every evening, and that that rope was found,<br />

on <strong>the</strong> morning following its first appear-<br />

ance, cut through by a pair <strong>of</strong> scissors.<br />

Comment is needless. These things, Ave say,<br />

are undoubtedly true, but we do not vouch<br />

for <strong>the</strong> truth <strong>of</strong> a report that, during <strong>the</strong><br />

gale <strong>of</strong> wind Ave experienced a few days<br />

before reaching Port Said, Mrs. Faulkner,<br />

who, until quite recently, as Miss Button,<br />

had ahvays had her sister to assist in un-<br />

dressing her, found that <strong>the</strong> latter and <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r " doves" were positively too ill to move,<br />

so had to send for her gallant husband to


A I'ale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 15 i<br />

stand just outside <strong>the</strong> door, and, so to speak,<br />

pull <strong>the</strong> strings. This we cannot vouch for,<br />

although we had it on <strong>the</strong> best authority,<br />

namely, that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> man whose cabin adjoined<br />

<strong>the</strong> dove-cot ; but <strong>the</strong>n, what wonderful<br />

<strong>tale</strong>s that man did tell to be sure ! What<br />

a<br />

flutter <strong>the</strong>y would have raised in <strong>the</strong> dovery.<br />

We also accepted with reservations a statement<br />

to <strong>the</strong> effect that that idiot Blake, after<br />

making it up with his wife, and even allow-<br />

ing her on one occasion to take a turn or<br />

two upon <strong>the</strong> bridge with <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>licer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

watch, used to leave his third part <strong>of</strong> a<br />

cabin at an unearthly hour each morning<br />

and stand outside <strong>the</strong> dove-cot whistling a<br />

signal, when she would jump out <strong>of</strong> bed, and<br />

open <strong>the</strong> cabin door just wide enough to<br />

put her hand through for him to kiss ; <strong>the</strong><br />

which, having accomplished, he would<br />

happily descend again to pandemonium. At<br />

this, we say, we were at first inclined to<br />

cavil, but subsequent events showed how<br />

weak were our objections ; for Daintree,


152 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

having carefully mastered <strong>the</strong> mornhig<br />

signal, succeeded in giving vent to tliat<br />

most necessary " open sesame," so effectively,<br />

that <strong>the</strong> lady's hand received its salute<br />

before <strong>the</strong> owner <strong>of</strong> that hand had left <strong>the</strong><br />

lower regions. Now, it m.ight be safely<br />

conjectured that <strong>the</strong> lady, knowing her<br />

" hubby's " impulsive nature, would imagine,<br />

should <strong>the</strong> signal again draw her from her<br />

bed, that her darling had returned for<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r s<strong>of</strong>t pressure ; and, indeed, it was<br />

with <strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong> thus escaping detection that<br />

<strong>the</strong> festive Francis had taken his kiss, never<br />

even thinking <strong>of</strong> one certain reason for m-<br />

stant discovery. The salute, we doubt not,<br />

quite equalled, if it did not surpass, her<br />

husband's in fervour; but was Avantmg, alto-<br />

tj e<strong>the</strong>r wanting, in inoustache I Hence <strong>the</strong><br />

piercing shriek <strong>of</strong> Mrs B., <strong>the</strong> fiery indigna-<br />

tion <strong>of</strong> B., <strong>the</strong> rightful whistler, <strong>the</strong> fiight <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> impostor, Daintree, and this <strong>tale</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

marital imbecility and wifely sagacity to<br />

afford amusement and instruction for <strong>the</strong>


—<br />

A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 153<br />

whole mess until our arrival at Port Said.<br />

What can we say in favour <strong>of</strong> Port Said ?<br />

that great canal weed, that snake in <strong>the</strong><br />

sand—except that we " coaled " <strong>the</strong>re ?<br />

Nothing. Each nation's own peculiar vice<br />

flourishes ; each infamous trade prospers<br />

<strong>the</strong>re ;<br />

and, if we dared, we believe we might<br />

describe new crimes as practised at lV»rt<br />

Said. Interesting and instructive as such<br />

descriptions would be, we refrain ; but,<br />

male reader, if your wife ever excuses your<br />

attendance at <strong>the</strong> social meal, take tea <strong>the</strong>re<br />

some day and go <strong>the</strong> rounds after dark.<br />

Take a friend or two with you, carry merely<br />

such valuables as you have grown tired <strong>of</strong>,<br />

and write down your experiences if you<br />

like.<br />

The Egyptians have a man-<strong>of</strong>-war <strong>the</strong>re,<br />

Ferdinand de Lesseps, a villa, and <strong>the</strong> in-<br />

habitants get <strong>the</strong>ir fresh water through long<br />

pipes from Ismaila— about forty-five miles<br />

<strong>of</strong>f, on <strong>the</strong> banks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Canal ; it must<br />

be nice and cool drinking.


154 Chlums<br />

Slip from <strong>the</strong> buoy, pay <strong>the</strong> dues, and<br />

we start, under <strong>the</strong> care <strong>of</strong> a French pilot,<br />

into <strong>the</strong> famous Suez Canal.<br />

It was 6 a.m. when we entered, and not<br />

being allowed to proceed at more than five<br />

knots an hour, except in <strong>the</strong> wide lakes, we<br />

had no chance <strong>of</strong> orettino- throuo-h that<br />

day.<br />

The wash against <strong>the</strong> banks, which would<br />

be considerable from a big ship going at<br />

any great speed, would soon wear <strong>the</strong>m<br />

down, and some restriction as to speed is<br />

<strong>the</strong>refore necessary. No ships proceed<br />

during <strong>the</strong> night, except upon special occa-<br />

sions—such as a visit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Heir Apparent<br />

to his future Indian command—but are<br />

required to haul alongside one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

" gares," or stations, at which <strong>the</strong> cutting<br />

is wider, to allow two ships to pass one<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r ; and where one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> canal em-<br />

ployes is in charge, to see that <strong>the</strong> regu-<br />

lations are carried out. He has to signal<br />

by flags whe<strong>the</strong>r <strong>the</strong> passage to <strong>the</strong> next<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 155<br />

gare is clear or not, and to telegraph to <strong>the</strong><br />

head <strong>of</strong>fices as each ship passes ; so that at<br />

both Port Said and Suez, <strong>the</strong> authorities<br />

can always show on <strong>the</strong>ir plans with <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

small models <strong>the</strong> exact position <strong>of</strong> every<br />

vessel making <strong>the</strong> passage. After peace-<br />

fully gliding along, over <strong>the</strong> first half dozen<br />

miles <strong>of</strong> ditch, we were joined by a young<br />

and active pelican, who, well aware <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

strict regulations against <strong>the</strong> use <strong>of</strong> fire-<br />

arms in <strong>the</strong> Canal, amused himself by keep-<br />

ing just within easy shot <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> eager<br />

sportsmen on <strong>the</strong> poop. Kot for a moment<br />

did that bird <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wilderness lose its<br />

P.M.— presence <strong>of</strong> mmd —not once did<br />

it neglect to swallow, with <strong>the</strong> best <strong>of</strong><br />

appetites, <strong>the</strong> ship's biscuit which, for want<br />

<strong>of</strong> stones, was hove at it. Flamhigoes we<br />

see in thousands ! now<br />

our distance—motionless ;<br />

settled—and seen at<br />

like a white peb-<br />

bly beach on <strong>the</strong> banks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> small lakes<br />

far away over <strong>the</strong> desert—now taking<br />

flight, like a pink-lined cloud, to be


156 Cliurns<br />

lost to view as <strong>the</strong>}^ sink on to <strong>the</strong> sand,<br />

near some even more distant lake.<br />

On we steam, until we are only a few<br />

miles from Lake Timsah. The old Tigris<br />

has been lucky so far ; each <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ships<br />

passed, has had to give way to her ; but<br />

now her turn has come, and, at almost <strong>the</strong><br />

last " gare " before <strong>the</strong> lake, we have to<br />

stop, and lash to <strong>the</strong> bank, whilst a homeward-bound<br />

steamer goes by with much<br />

cheering and shouting, also with an inter-<br />

change <strong>of</strong> witticisms and sweet biscuits.<br />

Our pelican having ere this departed, as<br />

we suppose, to "bury his head in <strong>the</strong> sand,"<br />

or perform some o<strong>the</strong>r portion <strong>of</strong> his wellknown<br />

programme, we are able to turn our<br />

attention to <strong>the</strong> "ditch" Arab. This ma-<br />

jestic creature <strong>the</strong>n, who frequents <strong>the</strong><br />

banks <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Suez Canal, and runs along<br />

abreast <strong>the</strong> ship for miles, in undress sack-<br />

cloth, is not a savoury object. One feels<br />

no inclination to pet or fondle that child <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> desert. He seems to hang about near<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 157<br />

<strong>the</strong> gares, and, <strong>of</strong> his many guttural noisevS,<br />

one can generally distinguish " ah-right ''<br />

and "backsheesh." He is singularly filthy;<br />

and <strong>the</strong>re is every reason to believe that<br />

<strong>the</strong> caravans, <strong>of</strong> which we have passed<br />

several on <strong>the</strong>ir way to Mecca, contain per-<br />

sons <strong>of</strong> equally majestic foulness. Two long<br />

hours we waited at that ''-gare ;" for Second-<br />

lieutenant Black, having dug his case <strong>of</strong><br />

cartridges out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> magazine, had started<br />

<strong>of</strong>f for a small lake situated, according to<br />

him, about a mile <strong>of</strong>f, and where <strong>the</strong> ardent<br />

sportsman was certain <strong>the</strong>re were wild duck<br />

and o<strong>the</strong>r luxuries. Armed with gun and<br />

carefully-set pedometer — Monkton had<br />

strongly advised him to take <strong>the</strong> latter<br />

—<br />

]ie trudged on through <strong>the</strong> fine sand, until<br />

<strong>the</strong> gun began to grow heavy, and tJie<br />

pedometer showed tivo miles. Still <strong>the</strong><br />

blue waters <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lake rippled along <strong>the</strong><br />

sand, at about <strong>the</strong> same distance ahead,<br />

and stretched far away to <strong>the</strong>ir invisible<br />

meeting with tlie cloudless blue sky; still


158 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

Second-lieutenant Black, wondering at <strong>the</strong><br />

length <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> way, but certain <strong>of</strong> his re-<br />

ward, trudged sinkingly on. He was fully<br />

aware tliat his time on shore was limited<br />

to one hour, and that one half <strong>of</strong> it was<br />

gone; but <strong>the</strong>n " those naval fellows always<br />

got ready half-an-hour before anything<br />

happened, and, if he put on a spurt, he<br />

might do this last mile in no time." Ac-<br />

cordingly, he spurted, sinking deeply. The<br />

gun grew heavier, <strong>the</strong> pedometer registered<br />

3^ miles, and his watch warned him that in<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r quarter <strong>of</strong> an hour his leave would<br />

be up. Still <strong>the</strong> rippling waters, and with<br />

<strong>the</strong>m, <strong>of</strong> course, his certain wild duck, kept<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir original distance ahead, and, with a<br />

malediction on both. Second-lieutenant Black<br />

turned himself to <strong>the</strong> right about, and drop-<br />

ping his eye-glass, commenced an inglorious<br />

retreat. All <strong>the</strong> 1st IGOths wore eye-<br />

glasses, and <strong>the</strong> last joined, or lower frac-<br />

ti(ms, would smile, oh, so cleverly! when<br />

you asked <strong>the</strong>m why. But, to join <strong>the</strong> in-


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queeiis <strong>Navy</strong>. 151)<br />

glorious retreat ! It Avas annoying after-<br />

wards to Black to remember, that in giving<br />

up <strong>the</strong> lake and duck hunt, he had crushed<br />

and trampled upon his pedometer, and<br />

ruined <strong>the</strong> main-spring <strong>of</strong> his watch ; but<br />

doubly trying was it to be met, directly he<br />

arrived on board, by a deputation, headed<br />

by Monkton, who presented him with his<br />

own edition <strong>of</strong> " The Comprehensive Pocket<br />

Dictionary," <strong>the</strong> page open at " Mir,"<br />

and <strong>the</strong> word " Mirage " deeply scored<br />

under.<br />

After this last cruel cut, a powerful<br />

slanging from Colonel Riling, for having<br />

broken his leave, w^as amusing ; and <strong>the</strong><br />

knowledge that, good-natured as Captain<br />

Braddon was, he had almost been persuaded<br />

by <strong>the</strong> colonel to put him under arrest,<br />

positively cheered that over-keen sports-<br />

man. During his period <strong>of</strong> optical delu-<br />

sion, <strong>the</strong> remainder <strong>of</strong> us had not been idle.<br />

We had, in parties, strolled on <strong>the</strong> sand,<br />

climbed <strong>the</strong> signet staff, fed M. de la Eue's


1 60 <strong>Chums</strong>.<br />

gazelle, and, <strong>the</strong> more favoured ones, been<br />

introduced to Madame, his wife. Some <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> favoured ones, however, reaped little<br />

benefit from that, for <strong>the</strong> belle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> desert<br />

—and she really was wonderfully fresh and<br />

comely— could only speak her own native<br />

tongue—Italian. The desperate attempts<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> favoured Daintree and Hawthorne to<br />

form some sort <strong>of</strong> combination <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> few<br />

foreign words <strong>the</strong>y knew, and so to express<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir admiration, should have moved hearts<br />

<strong>of</strong> stone, but met with no kind <strong>of</strong> approval<br />

or assistance from <strong>the</strong> ladies <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir party.<br />

At 4.30 Ave steamed on again, putting on<br />

<strong>the</strong> speed as much as possible through Lake<br />

Timsah, and soon passing Ismaila, with its<br />

sprinkhng <strong>of</strong> actually green trees, we tied<br />

up for <strong>the</strong> night at a particularly unwhole-<br />

some-looking "gare"—different as oasis to<br />

desert to <strong>the</strong> Frenchman's station, with its<br />

pretty creepers and plants, and its Italian<br />

desert flower—not far from Serapeum, and<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> wretched native villages.


CHAPTER VIL<br />

JINNEE was at seven o'clock, and<br />

towards 9 p.m., after dance on <strong>the</strong><br />

poop, nearly " all hands " headed,<br />

by <strong>the</strong> skipper, Colonel Eiling, and a few<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> senior ladies—what skittish young<br />

things Mrs. Colonel and Mrs. Major are<br />

on board ship—were shoved across in boat<br />

loads to <strong>the</strong> bank, for a long-looked-for-<br />

ward-to moonlight walk.<br />

This moonlight ramble in <strong>the</strong> lone<br />

desert had been exercising <strong>the</strong> mind <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Hon. Francis for hours ])ast ; it was<br />

quite plain that to enjoy it, as he fully<br />

intended to, only one lady companion<br />

would be desirable ; and for some time he<br />

could not, for <strong>the</strong> life <strong>of</strong> him, make up<br />

his mind which to take ; lively, clever<br />

VOF . II. M


162 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

Blanche, or coniiding, innocent Effie. At<br />

last he had decided that most fun was to<br />

be obtained from confidence and innocency<br />

as embodied in <strong>the</strong> little Stewart girl ;<br />

calcu-<br />

lating also that although she would certainly<br />

go on shore under her mo<strong>the</strong>r's care—an<br />

incubus which Blanche would be clear <strong>of</strong><br />

—yet, it \vas equally certain that Captain<br />

Braddon would not be far oiF, and would<br />

take care that that did not amount to<br />

much. But, how about Blanche ? Half<br />

expecting to find that Monkton would<br />

readily take her <strong>of</strong>f his hands, he found<br />

that <strong>of</strong>ficer with his own little game to<br />

play ; for—Faulkner being on <strong>the</strong> sick list<br />

—he had promised himself <strong>the</strong> pleasure <strong>of</strong><br />

a moonlight stroll and romantic chat over<br />

old days with Mrs. Faulkner. Therefore he,<br />

Monkton, most emphatically " barred " <strong>the</strong><br />

sister.<br />

What was to be done? Until just before<br />

dinner, Daintree had unceasingly asked<br />

himself that question ; not until he was


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 163<br />

clo<strong>the</strong>d in his clean boiled rag, and ready<br />

for <strong>the</strong> repast, had inspiration seized him.<br />

A few days ago, when <strong>the</strong>y had commenced<br />

rehearsing a play for performance in <strong>the</strong><br />

Eed Sea, Miss Blanche Dutton, who was<br />

one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> performers, had been commis<br />

sioned by Coxwell— prime mover, manager,<br />

king <strong>of</strong> tragedy, and burlesque — to try<br />

and persuade old Dr. Giles to join <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>atrical troupe, as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> parts Avas<br />

supposed to be exactly suited to him ; but<br />

she had signally failed in her object, as<br />

indeed everyone but herself had expected.<br />

The old boy had asked her question after<br />

question without waiting for her answers,<br />

nei<strong>the</strong>r had he attempted to reply to her<br />

request. Here was our schemer's chance,<br />

and ere seating himself at <strong>the</strong> dinner table<br />

that night, <strong>the</strong> artful Daintree had, with<br />

skilful management, contrived to get a bet<br />

on with <strong>the</strong> defeated young lady— giving<br />

her most unconscionable odds—that she<br />

would not inveigle Dr. Giles into escorting<br />

M 2


1 64 Cliu m,s' ;<br />

her on <strong>the</strong> eveniii \ walk. She^ by no<br />

means averse to have a try at recovering<br />

her reputation as a wheedler, fell into <strong>the</strong><br />

glove-baited trap readily enough, and Dain-<br />

tree's mind was at ease. Directly a word<br />

was spoken about landing, he took upon<br />

himself <strong>the</strong> burden <strong>of</strong> Miss Effie Stewart's<br />

cloak, and Miss Effie Stewart's cloud.<br />

Mghts in <strong>the</strong> canal are cold in January<br />

— and with her approval and her mo<strong>the</strong>r's<br />

shawl, he was well on <strong>the</strong> spot when <strong>the</strong><br />

first party started.<br />

After scrambling up <strong>the</strong> steep sandbank, a<br />

rest was necessary, and <strong>the</strong> captain relieved<br />

Daintree <strong>of</strong> Mrs. Stewart's shawl. Pariah<br />

dogs are barking around <strong>the</strong> native village ;<br />

Effie was young and fond <strong>of</strong> Francis;<br />

Francis was wary and ra<strong>the</strong>r liked Effie ;<br />

Francis and Effie stole away to look for<br />

those Pariah dogs in <strong>the</strong> moonlight.<br />

But long before this Miss Button had<br />

been scheming.<br />

Seated not far from Dr. Giles, she had,


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 165<br />

during dessert, taken care to express a most<br />

decided opinion that no babies should be<br />

allowed in "Troopers." "Or if'^she<br />

heartlessly put it—<br />

" if we must have <strong>the</strong><br />

infliction ; why not start a baby farm close<br />

to <strong>the</strong> Sheep and Chicken ?"<br />

" Eh ! why not ?" said <strong>the</strong> pleased doctor.<br />

" Why not, eh ? Why, because all <strong>the</strong><br />

ladies, married or single, would be <strong>of</strong>f" to<br />

<strong>the</strong> Chicken and Sheep, and <strong>the</strong>n where<br />

would young Jackanapes and Co. be ?<br />

What ? "<br />

" All amongst <strong>the</strong> hay, too," laughed<br />

Daintree, who was generally alluded to by<br />

<strong>the</strong> doctor as young Jackanapes, adding,<br />

in a low tone to his neighbour, Effie,<br />

—<br />

" and in clover." " You would soon have<br />

<strong>the</strong> saloon all to yourself, old fellow," he<br />

continued, ahjud.<br />

" Not if / was on board," said Blanche,<br />

gaily. "Would you, doctor?" The old<br />

boy smiled, thinking that after all <strong>the</strong>re was<br />

some right feeling amongst <strong>the</strong>se girls, and


166 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

that this one might make a sensible mo<strong>the</strong>r<br />

some day, if she'd onh^ give np her acting<br />

nonsense, and stick to her ideas about<br />

babies. Miss Button saw <strong>the</strong> smile, and,<br />

having finished her dessert, <strong>of</strong>fered Daintree,<br />

in a whisper, to double •<br />

<strong>the</strong> bet—an <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

which was declined with thanks—and left<br />

<strong>the</strong> table to prepare for her next move.<br />

She quite understood that she need not<br />

look for much <strong>of</strong> her sister Margaret's<br />

society that evening, and had persuaded<br />

old Major Bolton—one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> widowers<br />

—<br />

to take charge <strong>of</strong> her, promising, and<br />

fully intending, that she would not drag<br />

him far.<br />

The major had about half finished his<br />

after dinner cigar, when she drew near,<br />

and in her most engatrino^ manner said<br />

that she was quite ready, and was he<br />

really certain that he did not mind having<br />

his smoke on <strong>the</strong> sand. The major sighed;<br />

he couldn't help it. He and <strong>the</strong> pay-<br />

master <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Tic/ris, never tired <strong>of</strong>


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 167<br />

airing <strong>the</strong>ir service grievances, had just<br />

started a favourite—<strong>the</strong> absurd way those<br />

surgeon fellows in both services were<br />

allowed to carry everything before <strong>the</strong>m<br />

—and it teas hard at his—<strong>the</strong> major's<br />

—<br />

time <strong>of</strong> life to be hauled <strong>of</strong>f his hobby<br />

by a chit <strong>of</strong> a girl.<br />

"It is 80 good <strong>of</strong> you, Major Bolton,"<br />

said Blanche, as <strong>the</strong>ir boat was being<br />

pushed over to <strong>the</strong> bank ; " and I know<br />

that you are anxious to get back again<br />

Oil, I know you are !<br />

" she said, laugh-<br />

ingly, as <strong>the</strong> major murmured something<br />

about glorious moonlight night, sand,<br />

and exercise. " So," continued she, " I<br />

promise that in a very short time you<br />

shall be again growling at <strong>the</strong> British<br />

medical pr<strong>of</strong>ession, and <strong>the</strong> Britisli Medical<br />

Journal as much as you please, though<br />

what good it will do you I'm sure I don't<br />

know."<br />

They reached, and liad nearly chmbed<br />

to <strong>the</strong> top <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bank, wlien, with a


168 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

little cry <strong>of</strong> pain, Blanche arranged her<br />

garments neatly around her, and sank<br />

into a sitting posture upon <strong>the</strong> sand.<br />

" What is it, my dear Miss Dutton ?<br />

What is <strong>the</strong> matter?" said <strong>the</strong> panting<br />

major, his cigar gone out, his boots full <strong>of</strong><br />

sand, and his features now trying to<br />

force <strong>the</strong>mselves into an expression <strong>of</strong><br />

commiseration for <strong>the</strong> slie who had been<br />

<strong>the</strong> first cause <strong>of</strong> all <strong>the</strong>se miseries.<br />

" What have you done ? What can I<br />

do ? "<br />

"My ankle," murmured Blanche, faintly,<br />

as she pressed <strong>the</strong> neat little joint which,<br />

with well fitting cover, just peeped out<br />

from under her dress.<br />

" Oh ! my ankle," repeated <strong>the</strong> suffer-<br />

ing girl, more faintly, as she leant back<br />

upon <strong>the</strong> sand. " Could you—would you<br />

niind pulling <strong>of</strong>f my boot, and <strong>the</strong>n<br />

going for one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> doctors ?<br />

The major ardently desired to do any-<br />

tJiing ; humanity alone demanded that<br />

"


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 169<br />

much ; and a pretty foot, neatly shod,<br />

always fetched him. He was a widower ;<br />

he had pulled <strong>of</strong>f ladies' boots before,<br />

but never in <strong>the</strong> lone desert ; never, he<br />

<strong>the</strong>n thought, from so dainty a tree.<br />

Strange to say, it did not appear to be<br />

much swollen—but, dainty or not, <strong>the</strong><br />

colour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> stripes on its outer bark<br />

will be remembered by <strong>the</strong> major until<br />

his dying day.<br />

" And now, my dear young lady," he<br />

said, as having obeyed <strong>the</strong> first part <strong>of</strong> her<br />

commands, he still knelt before her,<br />

looking at <strong>the</strong> foot, which lay passively<br />

in his hand, and feeling as young as he<br />

looked, " you are sure you don't mind being<br />

left alone, whilst I run for <strong>the</strong> doctor?"<br />

Run ? Why, poor old boy, he hadn't<br />

run for <strong>the</strong> last ten years. The ankle<br />

did it.<br />

Blanche smiled behind her handkerchief—<br />

" Oh, I'm not at all afraid,<br />

tliank you," said she, " and—and major,


170 CImms<br />

remember that I'm not one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

" troops," you know. I suppose I must<br />

have one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> naval doctors, must I<br />

not ? "<br />

me ;<br />

" Yes, <strong>of</strong> course, glad you reminded<br />

<strong>the</strong> fleet surgeon, old Giles, will be<br />

<strong>the</strong> man."<br />

Old Giles I Why he was five years<br />

younger than <strong>the</strong> major. The stripes did<br />

it—lilanche laughed behind her handkei-<br />

chief. ''Keep your spirits up, my dear<br />

Miss Dutton," and forgetting grievances,<br />

and— until half way down <strong>the</strong> hill^yoiit,<br />

<strong>the</strong> gallant young widower started back<br />

for <strong>the</strong> ship.<br />

"' Where's my wife ? you must have<br />

seen my wife !<br />

:<br />

" exclaimed a figure, rush-<br />

ing violently against <strong>the</strong> almost spent<br />

major, as he hurried over <strong>the</strong> gangway.<br />

" Bo<strong>the</strong>r your wife, sir," was <strong>the</strong> satisfac-<br />

tory reply, as <strong>the</strong> figure was pushed <strong>of</strong>i'<br />

in <strong>the</strong> direction <strong>of</strong> old Giles, who—careful<br />

to escape any stray ladies—smoked his


A 7 ale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen .^ <strong>Navy</strong>. 171<br />

cigarettes anywhere ra<strong>the</strong>r than on <strong>the</strong><br />

poop.<br />

" Bo<strong>the</strong>r you, sir. What? and—and your<br />

wife, eir. Eh !<br />

wife ! What<br />

And—and everybody else's<br />

? " burst forth, in impetuous<br />

jerks, from <strong>the</strong> healer <strong>of</strong> male maladies.<br />

"I beg pardon, I'm sure," said <strong>the</strong> figure,<br />

meekly ; " but have you seen Mrs. Blake ?<br />

She promised to walk with no one but<br />

me, and I—I can't find her anywhere."<br />

"Wliat? can't find her. Eh? Wears a<br />

hat and cloak, doesn't she? What?"<br />

her."<br />

" Yes, yes," said Blake, eagerly ; " that's<br />

''That's her, is it, eh? Well, if that's<br />

her, she went on shore with Co.ncell in <strong>the</strong><br />

first boat. Better ask him about her, eh?"<br />

The subaltern gasped, opened a wide<br />

field for remarks to <strong>the</strong> recording angel,<br />

and was <strong>of</strong>f like a rocket. "But if that<br />

girl was your wife I'll— go in for matrimony;<br />

eh, major?" The doctor grinned<br />

venomouslv. He knew that Mrs. Blake


172 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

had left <strong>the</strong> gangway, and returned to <strong>the</strong><br />

ladies' cabin only a few minutes before,<br />

feeling faint ; and that no one had thought<br />

<strong>of</strong> telling her noodle <strong>of</strong> a husband.<br />

" Take time to think about it, young<br />

Headstrong. Don't do things rashly, im-<br />

petuous youth," laughed <strong>the</strong> major. "But<br />

come along, doctor," he continued, "I<br />

have a job for you." And Giles found<br />

himself button-holed to <strong>the</strong> shore, Bolton<br />

rapidly telling him about Miss Button's<br />

ankle. A lady's sprained ankle was a slight<br />

change for a naval doctor, but it did not<br />

arouse old Giles' enthusiasm, and he only<br />

grew slightly interested on discovering that<br />

<strong>the</strong> accident had happened to <strong>the</strong> sensible<br />

girl who wished to have <strong>the</strong> saloon nursery<br />

abolished. That was a happy idea <strong>of</strong> Miss<br />

Blanche's !<br />

Weary and blown, <strong>the</strong>y soon stood before<br />

<strong>the</strong> still recumbent, graceful figure <strong>of</strong> Miss<br />

Button. No handkerchief hid her face<br />

now, no absence <strong>of</strong> colour was observable


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 173<br />

in her bloominir cheeks. No !<br />

game now is quite " une autre chose.''<br />

Her<br />

little<br />

"I am so sorry," she began, before ei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m had found breath for aught but<br />

gasps. " I think it could only have been a<br />

little crick after all ; and I have given you<br />

so much trouble, doctor." She smiled<br />

sweetly on <strong>the</strong> doctor ; <strong>the</strong> major was<br />

nowhere. " And you can't think how<br />

nervous I am"—Blanch Dutton nervous !<br />

— ;<br />

" especially, about sprains. But it seems<br />

quite right again now, don't you think so?"<br />

and, with virginal diffidence, <strong>the</strong> stripes just<br />

showed again, appealing this time to <strong>the</strong><br />

doctor s sympathy.<br />

In ten minutes more, <strong>the</strong> maiden was<br />

leaning on <strong>the</strong> ancient bachelor's arm<br />

'•just to try, you know" if she could walk<br />

without pain as far as that stone cistern,<br />

unused since <strong>the</strong> canal workmen liad<br />

finished <strong>the</strong>ir labours.<br />

In ten minutes more, <strong>the</strong> widowered<br />

major was astonishing and annoying his


1 74 <strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

friend <strong>the</strong> paymaster by growling out, as<br />

<strong>the</strong> latter conchided a statement that<br />

" possibly <strong>the</strong>re were one or two question-<br />

— " They're all alike, sir ! humbugs.<br />

able characters amongst naval paymasters"<br />

Each<br />

generation commences earlier, too ! all<br />

alike! all alike!" The paymaster showed<br />

signs <strong>of</strong> annoyance at this perfectly gratui-<br />

tous insult, but I quite forget how he and<br />

<strong>the</strong> major came to an understanding, and<br />

no one ever heard what <strong>the</strong> doctor said to<br />

<strong>the</strong> damsel, or <strong>the</strong> damsel to <strong>the</strong> doctor,<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y strolled along lovingly toge<strong>the</strong>r. I<br />

say lovingly on <strong>the</strong> authority <strong>of</strong> Hawthorne,<br />

who, as military captain <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> day, and a<br />

fixture on board accordingly, had, with <strong>the</strong><br />

aid <strong>of</strong> night-glasses, observed Miss Button<br />

manoeuvring <strong>the</strong> old doctor, and, not know-<br />

ing <strong>the</strong> prize in view, had pitied her taste.<br />

" Surely she might have found one <strong>of</strong> ' Purs'<br />

more to her fancy," thought <strong>the</strong> gallant<br />

captain, re-adjusting his eye-glass. (Have I<br />

mentioned that <strong>the</strong> 160th all wore eye-


—<br />

A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 175<br />

glasses). " Pretty Polly Maxwell would have<br />

more sense, wouldn't she?" he whispered,<br />

as one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sergeant-major's daughters<br />

passed close by him on her way down<br />

below. The girl smiled and blushed, and<br />

would have stopped— as she had <strong>of</strong>ten doue<br />

before, and would again—to talk to an<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer ; but mamma mo<strong>the</strong>r is so common<br />

—was in rear, and <strong>the</strong>re were no warm<br />

kisses or compliment^ for Miss Polly that<br />

evening.<br />

Hawthorne's statement, notwithstandino-<br />

I don't believe that even during that re-<br />

markable stroll old Giles said much. It is<br />

possible that his feelings overcame him.<br />

No woman's foot had pressed his hand, no<br />

lady's weight had needed his support for<br />

some time, and <strong>the</strong>re was life in <strong>the</strong> old<br />

boy yet. Undoubtedly^ his feelings over-<br />

came him.<br />

* * * *<br />

'' I think that I may say with Shake-<br />

speare's Earl <strong>of</strong> Warwick<br />


176 Chuffis :<br />

Between two girls, which hath <strong>the</strong> merriest eye,<br />

I have perhaps some shallow spirit <strong>of</strong> judgment.<br />

But <strong>the</strong>n, Mrs. Faulkner, who has not? Since<br />

you went in for matrimony, I'm afraid I<br />

have grown callous ; I spoon anyone who<br />

will flirt with me. What can it matter,<br />

since you are out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> question ? " The<br />

speaker was Monkton ;<br />

his voice and half-<br />

joking tones reaching <strong>the</strong> doctor and <strong>the</strong><br />

maiden from <strong>the</strong> far corner <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> cistern.<br />

Mrs. Faulkner's answer came before <strong>the</strong>y<br />

were seen. " Why should I be out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

question?" she said, impatiently. "That<br />

is, <strong>of</strong> course, you couldn't- -you wouldn't<br />

care, and <strong>of</strong> course, I couldn't alloiv you to<br />

flirt with me now. But it's not altoge<strong>the</strong>r<br />

pleasant for one to have to hear pretty<br />

speeches made to o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

once believed to—to<br />

girls which one<br />

—<br />

" Now, Maggie !<br />

Ah,<br />

"<br />

Mrs. Faulkner, you<br />

know that you never believed a word that<br />

I told you, you <strong>of</strong>ten said so," interrupted<br />

Monkton, laughingly. And determined to


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>, 177<br />

put a stop to <strong>the</strong> " romantic chat over old<br />

days " before it grew even more interest-<br />

ing, he jumped up from his dust coat, on<br />

which <strong>the</strong>y had both been sitting, and was<br />

about to propose a move onwards again,<br />

when <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r couple came in sight, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> doctor—who had overcome his late<br />

feelings, and was engaged in an argument<br />

with <strong>the</strong> cistern—was heard to mutter :<br />

" Married as well as single, eh ? Young-<br />

fools as well as old fools, eh ? Bound<br />

to be fooled somehow ! What ? " This remark<br />

failing to meet with any response,<br />

a slight pause ensued ; <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> old<br />

fellow, once more awakened to a sense <strong>of</strong><br />

enmity against <strong>the</strong> fool-making sex, handed<br />

his fair charge politely over to Monkton,<br />

and surmising, with all his accustomed<br />

acerbity, " that he must go and see his sick,<br />

eh? Great pity, wasn't it, eh?" he left<br />

Blanche to explain how she had managed<br />

to get him <strong>the</strong>re, and was <strong>of</strong>f.<br />

Blanche and Cecil laughed merrily as she<br />

VOL. II. N


178 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

explained about <strong>the</strong> bet, and how she had<br />

won <strong>the</strong> gloves. " And you shall have<br />

three pair, Maggie, if you like," she added,<br />

as a sop to her sister, who, she was afraid,<br />

was far from pleased at a third person's<br />

arrival on <strong>the</strong> scene. Mrs. Faulkner was<br />

certainly a little sore. She had accused<br />

Cecil <strong>of</strong> forgetting <strong>the</strong>ir old friendship<br />

in new flirtations, and he had laughingly<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered to become her bond-slave, provided<br />

Major Faulkner had no objection. How<br />

could he (Cecil) be so absurd ? And she<br />

had really imagined at one time that he<br />

cared for her, and had fondly hoped that he<br />

would be broken-hearted when she married.<br />

There was <strong>the</strong> rub. She had not made his<br />

whole life miserable by her marriage. It<br />

was annoying<br />

!<br />

Blanche felt in <strong>the</strong> way, and being unable<br />

to get out <strong>of</strong> it alone, proposed that <strong>the</strong>y<br />

should stroll towards <strong>the</strong> village. They did<br />

so—ra<strong>the</strong>r dismally, and soon came across<br />

Mrs. Stewart and <strong>the</strong> captain ; <strong>the</strong> former


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 17^<br />

in a great state <strong>of</strong> anxiety about her darling<br />

Effie, having just discovered that she had<br />

not seen her for some little time — i.e.^<br />

roughly, two hours.<br />

Captain Braddon, with <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> ra<strong>the</strong>r dismal trio, succeeded in allaying<br />

<strong>the</strong> anxious mo<strong>the</strong>r's fears, assuring her that<br />

Miss Stewart was being taken <strong>the</strong> greatest<br />

possible care <strong>of</strong>, and <strong>the</strong>y all repaired on<br />

board. Mrs. Stewart could not think <strong>of</strong><br />

going to bed until her daughter had re-<br />

turned ; so, accompanying herself upon <strong>the</strong><br />

guitar, <strong>the</strong> lady warbled love songs in <strong>the</strong><br />

shadow <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ever-useful wheel-house, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> gallant captain provided iced drinks.<br />

She sang charmingly, and he dearly loved<br />

<strong>the</strong> guitar; nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m had time to<br />

think that Effie might be even <strong>the</strong>n learning<br />

—her first great lesson—<strong>the</strong> world !<br />

The pariah dogs still barked—as was<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir nightly custom—but little recked <strong>the</strong><br />

pair who, far from <strong>the</strong> native village, rested<br />

N 2


180 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir backs adjacently against <strong>the</strong> wall <strong>of</strong> a<br />

tumble-down structure, which had once been<br />

inhabited by an overseer <strong>of</strong> canal cutters.<br />

Near <strong>the</strong>m, <strong>the</strong> only sign <strong>of</strong> wakeful life,<br />

was a camel, hobbled, and squatted on <strong>the</strong><br />

sand, with neck well stretched out. A<br />

sudden rumbling sound would occasionally<br />

inform <strong>the</strong>m that <strong>the</strong> animal was engaged<br />

in <strong>the</strong> parsimonious pursuit <strong>of</strong> chewing <strong>the</strong><br />

cud, and <strong>the</strong> supercilious " who-<strong>the</strong>-devil-<br />

asked-you " sort '<strong>of</strong> look which his long face<br />

bore when shoved in <strong>the</strong>ir direction,<br />

indicated, plainly, that he could tell " <strong>the</strong><br />

distinguished foreigner " at a sniff.<br />

The driver lay curled up on his mat just<br />

in front <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> beast. He had stirred<br />

slightly when <strong>the</strong> pair had arrived, and<br />

taken up <strong>the</strong>ir adjacent position ;<br />

<strong>the</strong>n, mur-<br />

muring " Salaam, Backsheesh," had gone to<br />

sleep again immediately. It ivas his destiny.<br />

They might almost have supposed that <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

arrival had been altoge<strong>the</strong>r unknown to him,<br />

but ever and anon, as <strong>the</strong> camel's restless


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 181<br />

neck tautened <strong>the</strong> rope in his hands, a drowsy<br />

'' Backsheesh, Sahib," showed that, even in<br />

his dreams, <strong>the</strong> desert child had not for-<br />

gotten <strong>the</strong> monied white man.<br />

Is it necessary to add that <strong>the</strong> pair in close<br />

proximity and deep thought were <strong>the</strong> dog-<br />

finders, Francis and Effie ? He, at all events,<br />

was thinking deeply, and she was thinking<br />

that he was thinking <strong>of</strong> he7\<br />

" How very thoughtful we are, all <strong>of</strong> a<br />

sudden," said she, gaily, and waited for <strong>the</strong><br />

compliment which should come.<br />

"Yes; I was just making up a little<br />

poem, suggested by past events and present<br />

noises," said Daintree.<br />

"Oh! Is that all?" said she.<br />

" Yes. It runs like this," said he.<br />

^<br />

—<br />

I tliought that into <strong>the</strong> " Blue Bell " *<br />

Yet once again I'd stumbled ;<br />

" 'Ow'rd 'arris will oblige," I yell<br />

That is—tlie camel ruyjihled.<br />

Methought in trop'cal waters, I,<br />

To have a swim had tumbled :<br />

That fin ! a shark ! Oh<br />

Lord, I cry-<br />

That is—<strong>the</strong> camel ruinbled.<br />

South <strong>of</strong> England music hall at Portsmouth.


182 Chturns :<br />

tree.<br />

I thought 'twas my first watch, about<br />

The bridge I tramped, and grumbled :<br />

That sound !<br />

—<br />

" man overboard," I shout<br />

That is—<strong>the</strong> camel rumbled.<br />

Methought I stood on Plymouth Hoe ;<br />

I'd dined, was somewhat jumbled ;<br />

It rose, we met ; I heard <strong>the</strong> blow<br />

That is— <strong>the</strong> camel rumbled.<br />

Methought I knelt with " sis," so meek,<br />

— —<br />

Our baby prayers we mumbled ;<br />

" Boo—00 ! she's pinch'd me, ma," I shriek<br />

That is— <strong>the</strong> camel rumbled.<br />

•' What do you think <strong>of</strong> it ? " asked Dain-<br />

Effie didn't think much <strong>of</strong> it ; she was<br />

disappointed. There was nothing about her<br />

in it ; perhaps he didn't care for her after<br />

all<br />

" You weren't thinking <strong>of</strong> me, <strong>the</strong>n," she<br />

murmured, shyly. " I thought that, per-<br />

haps, you might have been— ^^just<br />

"<br />

a little 1<br />

" Oh ! wasn't I though ? listen to this,<br />

my last thought."<br />

Methought at Heaven's garden gate<br />

Two angels met—an assignation.<br />

Two sighs, four lips got mixed, and straight<br />

The camel rumbled approbation.<br />

"There! now I've finished smoking," said


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 183<br />

Daintree, chucking away his cigar. " You<br />

know what you promised, and, by Jove^ <strong>the</strong><br />

camel's rumbhng."<br />

A shght pause followed his remark; <strong>the</strong>n<br />

came a sound, which even you, most meek<br />

and gentle reader, would recognise as entirely<br />

distinct from <strong>the</strong> muttering <strong>of</strong> a dirty Arab,<br />

or <strong>the</strong> rumbling <strong>of</strong> a cud-chewing camel.<br />

" Then, you do not mind, do you ? "<br />

The question was Daintree's, but did not<br />

appear to refer to his having ceased to smoke.<br />

" You are not angry ? that's right," he<br />

continued, as a red, but smiling, little face<br />

was, after some difficulty, again turned to-<br />

wards his.<br />

" You told me that cousin Edward used<br />

to, didn't you ? " he added, with a laugh.<br />

"Yes, but that was more than a year ago,<br />

Mr. Daintree," said Effie, slowly and ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

thoughtfully. " When we were children<br />

and played croquet for kisses at aunt<br />

Emily's, and <strong>the</strong>n he—he never put his arm<br />

around my waist like you—like that. Oh !


184 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

you mustn't, Mr. Daintree ;<br />

" she finished<br />

quickly, moving shyly, but certainly not in-<br />

creasing <strong>the</strong>ir distance apart ; and <strong>the</strong> enter-<br />

prising arm gained ano<strong>the</strong>r inch or two.<br />

" But you do not mind, Effie ? " he per-<br />

sisted.<br />

" That lucky cousin <strong>of</strong> yours would<br />

do just <strong>the</strong> same Avere he here."<br />

" How can you say so, Mr. Daintree ? I<br />

will never forgive you," she said, turning<br />

away indignantly. " I'm sure I should not<br />

let him."<br />

"But you don't mind with me?" still per-<br />

sisted Daintree. " Let me look at you,<br />

Effie." The little, innocent face, grown<br />

strangely flushed and timid, was turned<br />

slowly to meet his.<br />

" No ;<br />

not with you," she whispered, her<br />

lips raised unconsciously ;<br />

" you are so—so<br />

different." That was it, poor little half-child,<br />

half-woman. He was so different. The<br />

child's thought ; <strong>the</strong> woman's excuse.<br />

Again that sound, and yet <strong>the</strong> dirty Arab<br />

muttered not, <strong>the</strong> camel forbore to rumble.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 185<br />

Effie leant back once more against her<br />

companion's arm.<br />

" Different, am I," laughed he, after that<br />

second slight pause. Kissing had always<br />

been a laughing matter to him, and to <strong>the</strong><br />

girls he had kissed. What could he know<br />

<strong>of</strong> such simplicity as Effie Stewart's ? "<br />

"Different, am I," he repeated, bending his<br />

arm and drawing <strong>the</strong> slight, yielding little<br />

figure closer yet. " Then, won't you," and<br />

he raised his lips, jokingly, "won't you<br />

mark <strong>the</strong> difference ? "<br />

" No I mustn't ; you mustn't, Mr. Dain-<br />

tree." The nervous and now almost wo-<br />

manly tone <strong>of</strong> entreaty was unnoticed by<br />

him.<br />

"Nonsense, Effie," he laughed, still enjoy-<br />

ing <strong>the</strong> joke.<br />

" But you mustn't, Mr. Daintree ; you<br />

must not ; I can't, I can't bear it. I'm sure<br />

I shall cry ; Oh, don't ! I k7iow I shall."<br />

The kiss, with a jovial laugh, was given,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> hot, s<strong>of</strong>t little cheek, to Daintree's


186 Churns:<br />

utter surprise, still rested against his, and<br />

a quick, nervous sob told plainly that<br />

<strong>the</strong> joke was over for <strong>the</strong>m both.<br />

"Oh! you shouldn't, I'm sure it is wrong,<br />

and I can't help it," sobbed poor Effie, half<br />

fric^htened at her own feeling^s, and now<br />

experiencing all a woman's shame at having<br />

shown <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

" But, I say, you know, don't cry, Effie ;<br />

I'm sure it's all right, that is, <strong>the</strong>re was<br />

nothing wrong. Don't, please don't cry;<br />

"crying, class three, feeble,'' stammered Dain-<br />

tree, fairly puzzled how to explain him-<br />

self. He couldn't tell <strong>the</strong> girl that he was<br />

devilish sorry, but didn't know that she<br />

was so fond <strong>of</strong> him, as she too evidently<br />

was ; and it also struck him ra<strong>the</strong>r forci-<br />

bly now, that, considering her childishness,<br />

he had very much overdone <strong>the</strong> business.<br />

Silently and disconsolately he looked at<br />

her, as she quietly removed his arm from<br />

her waist, and said, with <strong>the</strong> least suspicion<br />

<strong>of</strong> bitterness—<strong>the</strong> "learning <strong>the</strong> world" had


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 187<br />

commenced— " Of course <strong>the</strong>re was nothinix<br />

wrong. You will be afraid to ever kiss ano<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

Mr. Daintree." She laughed merrily, and<br />

jumped to her feet. He should see that it<br />

was merely a little sudden nervousness that<br />

had so moved her, nothing else. She was<br />

only a child, and in no way malicious.<br />

Daintree's "cut one" had not been guarded.<br />

A womem is always at <strong>the</strong> first guard.<br />

The late scene was not likely to be for-<br />

gotten by ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, but an hour in<br />

<strong>the</strong> moonlight will work wonders, and <strong>the</strong>y<br />

were both jolly, and almost at <strong>the</strong>ir ease<br />

again when at 11.30 p.m. <strong>the</strong>y followed <strong>the</strong><br />

sound <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> guitar, and Daintree handed<br />

his fair, awakened little friend into her<br />

mo<strong>the</strong>r's keeping. It was at 11.30 too,<br />

that some <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> lively ones, headed by<br />

Coxwell, Mrs. Bartram, and satellites, " took<br />

boat," and started for a steamer which lay<br />

lashed to <strong>the</strong> bank some distance astern <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> Tijris.<br />

They would paddle quietly down to her.


188 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

'^ <strong>the</strong>ir voices keeping tune as <strong>the</strong>ir oars<br />

kept ti-i-ime," as <strong>the</strong> glee hath it. Then<br />

<strong>the</strong>y would go on board, have a cozy little<br />

chat with <strong>the</strong> passengers, possibly meeting<br />

old friends, assuredly obtaining cheap drinks<br />

and tobaccos ; and <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong>y would glide<br />

gently back again to <strong>the</strong>ir Eden on <strong>the</strong><br />

Tigris. Such were <strong>the</strong> thoughts which<br />

had struck Coxwell and a limited number<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> " brutal and licentious soldiery "<br />

—<br />

historical term <strong>of</strong> endearment—on <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

return from exploring <strong>the</strong> native village.<br />

Mrs. B. and <strong>the</strong> little widow <strong>of</strong> l<strong>of</strong>ty<br />

aspirations were <strong>the</strong> only sopranos in <strong>the</strong><br />

gleeful party. The lengthy object <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

latter lady's " pretty little ways " was <strong>the</strong>re<br />

— <strong>the</strong> lazy object <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> former lady's wifely<br />

duty was not <strong>the</strong>re. He and " old Jinks,"<br />

with <strong>the</strong> assistance <strong>of</strong> a rapidly diminishing<br />

supply <strong>of</strong> whisky (Scotch), and by <strong>the</strong><br />

light <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> solitary lantern, were demoral-<br />

ising in <strong>the</strong> saloon ; <strong>the</strong> question raised by<br />

" Jinks " being, whe<strong>the</strong>r " A sojer who gets


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 189<br />

marr'd, oiight'n t'be kicked out <strong>of</strong> all decen'<br />

s'ciety ? " whilst Bartram, feeling that he<br />

had already committed himself, proposed<br />

<strong>the</strong> comfortable doctrine that, " S'posen a<br />

flow could n help'n self; had'n he perfec<br />

right t'amuse'n self in's own way ? " The<br />

greatest harmony prevailed ; each agreeing<br />

thoroughly with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r's sentiments, and<br />

—although <strong>the</strong> way was narrow and tor-<br />

tuous—arm-in-arm, and with much supe-<br />

rerogatory dignity, <strong>the</strong>y marched to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

cabins, at about <strong>the</strong> same time as <strong>the</strong> boat<br />

glided in " measured time " towards her<br />

destination down <strong>the</strong> canal.<br />

As she approached <strong>the</strong> steamer, her<br />

occupants had noticed, hanging over <strong>the</strong><br />

poop rails, a pair <strong>of</strong> white trousers—with<br />

human legs in <strong>the</strong>m ; a lank, slack pair <strong>of</strong><br />

legs, <strong>of</strong> considerable length, it being im-<br />

possible to see whence <strong>the</strong>y sprung. Now,<br />

as <strong>the</strong>y neared <strong>the</strong> ship's side, a head<br />

suddenly appeared peering between <strong>the</strong> legs,<br />

in such a way that, had not its equally


190 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

sudden disappearance been imniediately<br />

followed by <strong>the</strong> withdraAval <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> legs, no<br />

one could have supposed <strong>the</strong>m members <strong>of</strong><br />

one body. The boat ran alongside right<br />

underneath <strong>the</strong> rails on which <strong>the</strong> trousers<br />

had been hanging, and <strong>the</strong> single proprietor<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> connected members appeared.<br />

A tall, limp, melancholy man he was, as,<br />

leaning his elbows upon <strong>the</strong> rails, he re-<br />

garded tlie boat-load wonderingly.<br />

An immeasurably long cigar protruded<br />

from his mouth, and evidently—to his<br />

mind—life w^as too short, or <strong>the</strong> baccy too<br />

good to admit <strong>of</strong> his pausing to remove it<br />

from his lips for <strong>the</strong> simple purpose <strong>of</strong><br />

conversation.<br />

" Oh, crimes !<br />

" was his first surprised<br />

exclamation. " Now wot in <strong>the</strong> name <strong>of</strong><br />

all that is spirituous brings youliereV' was<br />

his first question, asked very much as<br />

though he had recognised an old chum in<br />

<strong>the</strong> boat. They all looked at him intently,<br />

but with no signs <strong>of</strong> ancient friendship ; <strong>the</strong>n


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 191<br />

<strong>the</strong>y looked at one ano<strong>the</strong>r, and a short<br />

pause ensued.<br />

"Drinks^'' abruptly and hoarsely ejacu-<br />

lated <strong>the</strong> lono' subaltern. His stowao-e<br />

room was enormous, and he had been<br />

pulling <strong>the</strong> stroke oar.<br />

The two sopranos, with one accord,<br />

"<br />

s<strong>of</strong>tly, musically murmured, " Hush I<br />

'•Have you any lady passengers?" in-<br />

quired <strong>the</strong> little common herbage widow, in<br />

a voice <strong>of</strong> which <strong>the</strong> natural sweetness was<br />

somewhat impaired, in consequence <strong>of</strong> a<br />

vain endeavour on her part to check a<br />

second and more hoarse demand from <strong>the</strong><br />

lono' subaltern for " drinks<br />

" Yes ; we are lady passengers," replied<br />

<strong>the</strong> man, without showing any indication <strong>of</strong><br />

stirring from his position <strong>of</strong> 'vantage, or<br />

<strong>of</strong> having heard ei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> applications<br />

for fluid. An acute observer, indeed, might<br />

have noticed that his thin hps closed tighter<br />

on his lono^ ci^'ar ; an acute listener mioht<br />

have remarked that a muttered " crimes "<br />

^


192 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

proceeded from <strong>the</strong> beginning <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> white<br />

continuations, as " drinks " fell upon <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

wearer's ear ;<br />

were not acute.<br />

but it was late, and our friends<br />

'' Oh, may we come on board ? I should<br />

so like to come on board," gushed Mrs.<br />

Bartram, in her cheery, loquacious, little<br />

voice. The grass widow was fully, but<br />

unavailingly occupied in endeavouring to<br />

suppress ano<strong>the</strong>r, and still hoarser, applied<br />

for " Drinks,'' from her friend with <strong>the</strong><br />

vast capacity.<br />

" Yes ;<br />

you can come on board," said <strong>the</strong><br />

man, playfully spitting over <strong>the</strong>ir boat,<br />

and breaking into a dismal smile, as <strong>the</strong>y<br />

all shrank close against <strong>the</strong> ship's side in<br />

disgust. " There's no orders against<br />

smokin' or spittin' anyhow,'' he remarked,<br />

with gloomy satisfaction. " They can't<br />

stop that, below me. That's a blessin' ;"<br />

he added, as without removing his " weed,"<br />

he cleverly caused <strong>the</strong> pleasure party to<br />

shrink toge<strong>the</strong>r in <strong>the</strong>ir boat, and <strong>the</strong>


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 1 93<br />

dismal smile once more romped unchecked<br />

over his cadaverous face.<br />

Failing to see <strong>the</strong> ' blessin ' in <strong>the</strong> same<br />

light, Coxwell said, civilly, " Where is your<br />

ladder? we don't see it."<br />

" There aiiit a ladder," replied <strong>the</strong> man,<br />

more cheerfully than he had yet spoken.<br />

" Well, side ropes, and steps in <strong>the</strong> ship's<br />

side ; where are <strong>the</strong>y ? "<br />

" There aint no side ropes or steps in<br />

<strong>the</strong> ship's side." And <strong>the</strong> light <strong>of</strong> happier,<br />

or at least, less melancholy days, rollicked<br />

about that man's eyes as <strong>the</strong> thirsty ones<br />

beneath him darted at one ano<strong>the</strong>r glances<br />

<strong>of</strong> mute appeal.<br />

"Why," he added, in accents <strong>of</strong> deep<br />

scorn, and as if he considered tliat some<br />

sort <strong>of</strong> apology for his presence in <strong>the</strong> ship<br />

was necessary, " why, you don't thnik I<br />

came here, knowin' wot I do 7iow, do you ?<br />

Oh, crimes ! I came aboard at Port Said,<br />

and I go ashore directly we get to Suez,<br />

anyhow.''<br />

VOL. II. o


1 94 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

" But what we want to know is, how<br />

on earth ive are to get on board," said<br />

Coxwell, testily, although, in an opposite<br />

direction, his capacity was almost as vast<br />

as that <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> long subaltern ; and he, too,<br />

craved for drinks.<br />

" Crimes, you cant get aboard !<br />

:<br />

" and <strong>the</strong><br />

melancholy man's " whereabouts " was<br />

again indicated only by a couple <strong>of</strong> fathoms<br />

<strong>of</strong> white trouser material dangling over<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir heads, and by an obtrusively distinct^<br />

" Hah ! ha !<br />

" which accompanied <strong>the</strong> dis-<br />

appearance <strong>of</strong> his upper works.<br />

" But you said we might come on board,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> ladies are waiting," remonstrated<br />

BroAvn, <strong>the</strong> gunner, indignantly, glancing<br />

towards Mrs. Bartram for approval.<br />

" That's right, Mr. Brown ; put it down<br />

to us. Say it's <strong>the</strong> ladies, do,'' snappishly<br />

replied his admired. What cheeriness<br />

could stand such repeated and overwhelm-<br />

ing shocks ? Jones, <strong>the</strong> sapper, made <strong>the</strong><br />

running for <strong>the</strong> remainder <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> evening


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 195<br />

" Ho, ho ! The ladies want drinks, eh ?<br />

Ha, ha !<br />

How<br />

do <strong>the</strong>y like that ? " A<br />

hand was thrust out between <strong>the</strong> overhang-<br />

ing legs, and a plentiful supply <strong>of</strong> cold tea<br />

fell into <strong>the</strong> water only just clear <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

" We 'ave lots <strong>of</strong> that ; I'll lower some down<br />

in a bucket if you like. Ha, ha !<br />

" Confound you," roared Coxwell ;<br />

"<br />

" what<br />

are you blattering about?"<br />

"Don't see <strong>the</strong> joke, eh? Crimes! Why<br />

you've come for drinks, I reckon, 'aven't<br />

you ?" The head wearing a fresh, and even<br />

longer growth <strong>of</strong> weed, and a smile <strong>of</strong><br />

ineffable joy, again peered inquiringly at<br />

<strong>the</strong>m between <strong>the</strong> rails and <strong>the</strong> legs.<br />

" Thanks. Whisky and soda '11 do for<br />

me, and " Thus far, in muffled tones,<br />

broke forth <strong>the</strong> long subaltern, and <strong>the</strong>n his<br />

small chum's hand closed his lips relent-<br />

lessly.<br />

"Don't see <strong>the</strong> joke, eh? Why, you've<br />

!— you've come for drinks to<br />

come—ha, ha<br />

a—oh, crimes!—to a teetotal ship!" The<br />

o2


19f) <strong>Chums</strong><br />

legs, <strong>the</strong> rails, <strong>the</strong> very side shook, as yell<br />

after yell <strong>of</strong> fiendish laughter burst from <strong>the</strong><br />

again invisible head.<br />

Despairing looks passed over <strong>the</strong> hi<strong>the</strong>rto<br />

eager, expectant faces <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> pleasure and<br />

drink seekers, and <strong>the</strong>n—shaking <strong>the</strong> water<br />

<strong>of</strong>f his boathook at that unproductive vessel<br />

—<strong>the</strong> bowman shoved <strong>of</strong>f, <strong>the</strong> crew gave<br />

way toge<strong>the</strong>r, and in five seconds <strong>the</strong>y were<br />

clear <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> temperance abode. Not a<br />

second too soon, for ano<strong>the</strong>r ejected blessing<br />

narrowly missed <strong>the</strong>m. Coxwell, in a hollow<br />

voice, caused by a partial vacuum in <strong>the</strong><br />

organ <strong>of</strong> digestion, denounced that man as<br />

a "slave and outcast;" and would have<br />

stood up to shake a fist at him—or ra<strong>the</strong>r,<br />

at his legs—but was forcibly restrained by<br />

Mrs. B. and admirers, <strong>the</strong>y being unani-<br />

mously <strong>of</strong> opinion that his great weight,<br />

and position on one side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> boat,<br />

rendered such a course as he proposed<br />

particularly inexpedient.<br />

He contented himself <strong>the</strong>n with con-


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 197<br />

eluding his harangue with as mueh dignity<br />

as is attainable by a man upon whose right<br />

arm hangs a lady, and upon each <strong>of</strong> whose<br />

legs hangs a gentleman, in <strong>the</strong> following<br />

powerful and prayerful language :<br />

d<br />

—<br />

" And may you founder, sink, and be<br />

"<br />

'^ Brownedr interposed <strong>the</strong> appendage<br />

to his right arm, but not in quite her<br />

cheery w^ay.<br />

" Drowned, Mr. Coxwell," she<br />

repeated, s<strong>of</strong>tly, " nothing far<strong>the</strong>r."<br />

''Drunk. Must—be<br />

—<br />

drunk,'' decided <strong>the</strong><br />

long subaltern, in four distinct, spasmodic<br />

jerks ;<br />

and was immediately taken in hand<br />

by his protectress. At this period, his head<br />

and shoulders were alone visible in <strong>the</strong><br />

moonlight ; his protracted remainder had<br />

gradually subsided, and now lay coiled<br />

down, in separate lengths, at <strong>the</strong> bottom <strong>of</strong>.<br />

<strong>the</strong> boat. It was hard to move without<br />

trampling upon a coil <strong>of</strong> him.<br />

well.<br />

" And be drowned <strong>the</strong>n !<br />

" shrieked Cox


198 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

" Same to you, old elephantiosis,'' floated<br />

back <strong>the</strong> mirthful rejoinder from <strong>the</strong> vicinity<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> danoiino^ les^s. After that it became<br />

very difficult to restrain <strong>the</strong> ardour <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Thin 'un ; nothing but one forcible con-<br />

sideration, suggested by Jones, <strong>the</strong> sapper,<br />

prevented his returning to scale that vessel's<br />

wooden side, and immolate that villainous,<br />

soured joker ; and that was, that whereas<br />

in <strong>the</strong> Tigris <strong>the</strong>re were drinks^ in <strong>the</strong><br />

villain's vessel <strong>the</strong>re were none.<br />

Untunefully and untimefully, <strong>the</strong>y pulled<br />

back ; satisfied <strong>the</strong>ir cravings, found <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

cabins—with <strong>the</strong> exception <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> long<br />

subaltern, who was discovered next morn-<br />

ing stretched out with wide-open mouth<br />

under <strong>the</strong> tap in <strong>the</strong> ladies' bath room—and<br />

retired to rest.<br />

At 6 A.M. on <strong>the</strong> following day we were<br />

<strong>of</strong>f again, and passing through <strong>the</strong> Great<br />

and Little Bitter lakes, arrived at Suez<br />

about noon.<br />

After a short stay—no one landing— we


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 199<br />

entered <strong>the</strong> gulf <strong>of</strong> Suez, and so into <strong>the</strong><br />

Eed Sea, which our sporting friend. Black,<br />

expected to find, " Xot red, you know ;<br />

that's all humbug ; but a sort <strong>of</strong> chocolate<br />

colour. Monkton told me so."<br />

Plenty <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>atrical rehearsals, and popular<br />

songs and readings passed away <strong>the</strong> time in<br />

<strong>the</strong> Eed Sea, and, after a few days, we<br />

steamed by that choice island, Perim<br />

struggled against a strong head wind<br />

through <strong>the</strong> " Gate <strong>of</strong> Tears," and found<br />

ourselves in <strong>the</strong> Arabian Sea, Aden rapidly<br />

fading away in <strong>the</strong> distance.<br />

;


CHAPTEE YIII.<br />

" iSJfiili^OW do keep still, or I shall run<br />

a hair-pin into you. Maggie,<br />

draw <strong>the</strong> curtain. That's right<br />

now those pins. How do you like that?"<br />

triumphantly ended Mrs. Stewart.<br />

The person asked for an opinion, who<br />

was standing helplessly on a chair, turned<br />

round, and glanced towards <strong>the</strong> looking-<br />

glass.<br />

" Yes ; <strong>the</strong> hair's all right. But I shall<br />

look most awfully—what-d'ye-call-it?—flat;<br />

shan't I ? Excessively straight, and yet too<br />

unstaid ! Class^ aiigidar, eh?''<br />

" Oh !<br />

we'll manage all that," laughed<br />

Mrs. Stewart ; " and if you will say such<br />

stupid things, Mrs. Faulkner will go away,<br />

and I can't stop here all alone."<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 201<br />

We have dropped promiscuously into<br />

Daintree's cabin, and precious little room<br />

<strong>the</strong>re is for us.<br />

In <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> far from spacious<br />

boudoir, <strong>the</strong> solitary chair is planted ; and<br />

upon it is placed a lay figure, representing,<br />

at present, a startling combination <strong>of</strong><br />

" Morgiana " in a Turkish bath, and Lieut.<br />

Daintree in slight undress. Hovering<br />

around, armed with safety pins—by <strong>the</strong><br />

figure's express stipulation,—ribbons, laces,<br />

and many o<strong>the</strong>r articles <strong>of</strong> female adorn-<br />

ment, are Mrs. Stewart and Mrs. Faulkner.<br />

No chance <strong>of</strong> getting near enough to assist<br />

in <strong>the</strong> dressing ;<br />

many-coloured, neat-folded<br />

mysteries surround us, as we find a resting<br />

place upon <strong>the</strong> bed.<br />

" For mercy's sake, don't forsake me !<br />

implored <strong>the</strong> lay figure, in answer to Mrs.<br />

Stewart's threatened departure ; " consider<br />

my unprotected position, and be kind,<br />

even gentle with me."<br />

"Well, don't be absurd." And with<br />

'*


202 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

keen enjoyment on <strong>the</strong> part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ladies,<br />

<strong>the</strong> luckless " combmation " is twisted and<br />

tortured, and <strong>the</strong> " Morgiana " portion<br />

rapidly predominates.<br />

" Now, you must remember exactly how<br />

everything goes on," casually remarks<br />

Mrs. Stewart.<br />

An imbecile smile flits across " Morgi-<br />

ana's " sweet young face ; a despondent<br />

sigh bursts from Lieutenant Daintree's<br />

manly bosom, and combined movements<br />

<strong>of</strong> despair convulse <strong>the</strong> whole figure.<br />

" But you really must," continues Mrs.<br />

S. ; " for you have to change very quickly<br />

to-night. Now <strong>the</strong>n." And taking up one<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> mysterious garments from <strong>the</strong> bed,<br />

she held it towards Daintree, whose natural<br />

instinct led him to raise his foot to put<br />

throuf^h it. Both ladies blushed tosfe<strong>the</strong>r<br />

slightly, and laughed toge<strong>the</strong>r a good deal.<br />

It seemed to be arranged between <strong>the</strong>m<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y should act propriety for one<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r ; accordingly, as a general rule.<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 203<br />

<strong>the</strong>y came in toge<strong>the</strong>r, bhished, laughed,<br />

and went away toge<strong>the</strong>r. Both ladies<br />

<strong>the</strong>n blushed, and laughed toge<strong>the</strong>r ; Mrs.<br />

Stewart explaining, after recovery, that it<br />

was found more convenient by persons<br />

<strong>of</strong> " Morgiana's " sex to place <strong>the</strong> head<br />

through garments <strong>of</strong> that description,<br />

allowing <strong>the</strong>m to slip down into position.<br />

Daintree muttered that he ought to<br />

have known better by this time— a re-<br />

mark which certainly called for no reply<br />

from <strong>the</strong> ladies—and, except that he ob-<br />

jected strongly to everything fastening<br />

behind, and " couldn't see <strong>the</strong> object <strong>of</strong><br />

it," petticoats and skirts were placed<br />

with little difficulty.<br />

" Mrs. Bartram has lent me her red<br />

stockings," said Mrs. Stewart.<br />

Daintree and herself had made a voyage<br />

<strong>of</strong> discovery round <strong>the</strong> poop on <strong>the</strong> pre-<br />

vious day, and had found that <strong>the</strong> lady<br />

mentioned was <strong>the</strong> only one who wore<br />

<strong>the</strong> necessary colour.


204 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

" And <strong>the</strong> quartermaster's wife has lent<br />

you her shoes," added Mrs. Faulkner.<br />

" Ought to be able to swim in anything<br />

that belongs to her," observed <strong>the</strong> fair<br />

" Morgiana," with lady-like asperity.<br />

" You'll find <strong>the</strong>m very nice, you dread-<br />

fully conceited young woman. You see,<br />

it's ra<strong>the</strong>r a ticklish business asking <strong>the</strong><br />

young ladies to lend <strong>the</strong>ir shoes to a man<br />

looks as if one knew that <strong>the</strong>y had big<br />

feet, you know."<br />

" Besides," said Mrs. Stewart, " you must<br />

not be so ungrateful ; <strong>the</strong>y are not <strong>the</strong> only<br />

things which she has kindly supplied."<br />

Both ladies blushed slightly, laughed a<br />

good deal, and glanced towards a more<br />

than ordinarily mysterious parcel on <strong>the</strong><br />

bed.<br />

A fear <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> consequences <strong>of</strong> trying to<br />

get down, and <strong>the</strong> certainty <strong>of</strong> being unable<br />

to get up again in her present rig, com-<br />

bined to keep " Morgiana " on her perch,<br />

and away from that mysterious parcel.<br />

:<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 205<br />

" Are you sure you can remember how-<br />

it all goes on ? " again demanded Mrs.<br />

Stewart, as strings were untied, pins ex-<br />

tracted, and it became evident that ere<br />

long Lieutenant Daintree would appear<br />

again.<br />

The transitory " Morgiana," after a final<br />

struggle with her " body," and an awe-<br />

stricken glance at <strong>the</strong> many things she had<br />

slipped out <strong>of</strong>, expressed Francis Daintree's<br />

opinion that, considering <strong>the</strong> intricate and<br />

delicate nature <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> materials from<br />

which " Morgiana " had to be constructed,<br />

it would be well if some more experienced<br />

fabricator than himself should superintend<br />

<strong>the</strong> putting on. " For," as he very rightly<br />

added, " it isn't as if <strong>the</strong> get up would<br />

admit <strong>of</strong> a chamois lea<strong>the</strong>r suit, or a prin-<br />

cess robe only ; and it wouldn't do, you<br />

know, to have <strong>the</strong> skirt on hind part be-<br />

fore or to forget one's panier."<br />

The ladies decided, with a httle mutual<br />

blush, that ei<strong>the</strong>r mistake would be most


206 CIturns<br />

improper, besides utterly ruiyiing <strong>the</strong> play ;<br />

so Mrs. Stewart agreed to run down during<br />

<strong>the</strong> performance <strong>of</strong> " A Turkish Bath," and<br />

see that " Tom Griggs " Avas transformed<br />

into " Morgiana " correctly.<br />

" I shan't be able to come, because I am<br />

' Amelia,' " said Mrs. Faulkner.<br />

" Never mind, my dear," whispered Mrs.<br />

Stewart ;<br />

:<br />

" we will drop <strong>the</strong> proprieties just<br />

for one evening ; I shall think he's my boy<br />

Hugh ; he's not much older, and ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

more boyish."<br />

" Don't make ' Morgiana ' j ealous," laughed<br />

Daintree ;<br />

whispering in an apartment eight<br />

feet by six feet, may be considered as<br />

practically useless.<br />

" Now, you had better try on <strong>the</strong> stock-<br />

ings, and see if <strong>the</strong>y will do ;<br />

" and <strong>the</strong><br />

ladies retired toge<strong>the</strong>r into <strong>the</strong> saloon.<br />

They were still giggling s<strong>of</strong>tly, as ladies<br />

will, over <strong>the</strong> amusing little incidents in <strong>the</strong><br />

milinery department, when <strong>the</strong> curtain <strong>of</strong><br />

No. 6 cabin was drawn a little aside, and


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 207<br />

Daintree's head appeared. " I say," he<br />

began ; " it's all very well, you know, but<br />

I haven't got any<br />

" Yes, yes ; we<br />

"<br />

know," interrupted Mrs.<br />

Stewart, waving him back, and re-entering<br />

<strong>the</strong> boudoir with Mrs. Faulkner, where<br />

<strong>the</strong>y found Daintree sitting on <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong><br />

his bed, a picture <strong>of</strong> red-legged disconso-<br />

lateness.<br />

" I tried tying <strong>the</strong>m up Avith string, but<br />

it wasn't comfortable," he murmured, swing-<br />

ing his gorgeous extremities dejectedly.<br />

" How you ladies—what I mean is— I<br />

must have something^ mustn't I?"<br />

The ladies agreed that it would be well<br />

that he should have something, blushed<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r, and consulted in whispers ; whilst<br />

Daintree sat and nursed one <strong>of</strong> his harmo-<br />

nies in red.<br />

" But I don't wear <strong>the</strong>m, my dear,"<br />

whispered Mrs. Stewart.<br />

" Nor I, dear," whispered back Mrs.<br />

Faulkner.


208 Chlums<br />

" Wonderful persons," whispered Daintree ;<br />

" class (a) intensive." The ladies blushed<br />

toge<strong>the</strong>r, and continued <strong>the</strong>ir conversation<br />

aloud.<br />

" I know Mrs. Blake does, and she won't<br />

mind lending <strong>the</strong>m ; but you must be pre-<br />

pared to fight her husband, Mr. Daintree."<br />

" Fight a man for his wife's— a—Honi<br />

soit qui VL\?l-j-pense ? " All right. Heaven<br />

defend <strong>the</strong> right. Class (devout) " Dieu et<br />

mon droit."<br />

The ladies smiled, and were again retir-<br />

ing toge<strong>the</strong>r, when Daintree touched Mrs.<br />

Stewart's arm.<br />

" Just one more delicate question. How<br />

about my— a—concerning <strong>the</strong> figure^ you<br />

know?"<br />

" Why, surely you have not forgotten <strong>the</strong><br />

mysterious parcel," said Mrs. Stewart. He<br />

had, though ;<br />

:<br />

and <strong>the</strong> ladies smiled, blushed,<br />

and escaped toge<strong>the</strong>r, as he hastily opened<br />

it. " Morgiana's " figure was universally<br />

admired that evening.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 209<br />

Then came <strong>the</strong> last rehearsal, in <strong>the</strong> Cap-<br />

tain's cabin, when Blanche was certain that<br />

as " Kate," in " Perfection," she would never<br />

be able to look at " Charles Paragon "<br />

Captain Hawthorne—without laughing ;<br />

—<br />

al-<br />

though she failed to see, and was ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

indignant at someone suggesting that <strong>the</strong>re<br />

was anything for him to laugh at when on<br />

his knees before her, in <strong>the</strong>ir love scene.<br />

Lieutenant Blake, also, attending to explain<br />

nervously to Coxwell, that he did not think<br />

<strong>the</strong> remark " Sam "—Daintree—had to make<br />

to " Susan "—Mrs. Blake—about <strong>the</strong> latter<br />

being " pretty straight on her pms " was at<br />

all proper, that remark was modified to<br />

meet <strong>the</strong> husbandly fancy, at which Blake<br />

was pleased. He looked puzzled, though,<br />

when Daintree took him aside, and whispered,<br />

feelingly, "By Jove, old fellow, Fm<br />

awfully sorry. She looks all right, and<br />

ivalks well, so I suppose you don't worry<br />

yourself much about it ; so sorry ; who'd<br />

have thought it ? " and " Sam " cast a<br />

VOL, II. P


210 (Imms<br />

glance <strong>of</strong> tlie deepest coinmiseration to-<br />

wards " Susan," wlio could never have<br />

heard what he was saynig, as, <strong>of</strong> course,<br />

she was not intended to ; but who, for<br />

once, Avas regarding her adored liusband<br />

with actual contempt.<br />

Naturally, none <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ])erformers knew<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir parts ; and equally, <strong>of</strong> course, <strong>the</strong>y<br />

were certain to be perfect by <strong>the</strong> evening.<br />

" Old Jinks," <strong>the</strong> heavy fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

stage, was ra<strong>the</strong>r annoying, in that he would<br />

persist m denouncing, in loud and somewhat<br />

free asides, <strong>the</strong> ancient baronet he was re-<br />

presenting, as a "d d old fool ! drivelling<br />

old idiot ! " etc. This was ra<strong>the</strong>r annoying.<br />

Mrs. Faulkner, too, as " Amelia " in " A<br />

Turkish Bath," foiuid it a little trying, that<br />

in her interview with " Augustus," that gen-<br />

tleman considered adhu/ at rehearsals "great<br />

rot ;<br />

" wouldn't ])ractice stage embraces ;<br />

and gabbled through his part like a parrot.<br />

She couldn't in-nst u]:)()n <strong>the</strong> embrace ; this<br />

was a little trying, but it passed <strong>of</strong>f very<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> (Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 211<br />

well ill tlie evenino;—looked so reaL <strong>the</strong><br />

ladies said. Perhaps it felt so.<br />

An artful arrangement <strong>of</strong> tubs and mess<br />

stools, on one side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> poop, formed <strong>the</strong><br />

stage ;<br />

lots <strong>of</strong> flags, lanterns, and chairs, and<br />

a limited supply <strong>of</strong> scenery and stage effects<br />

completed <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>atre ; each cabin became<br />

its owner's green room.<br />

Dinner over in <strong>the</strong> saloon, <strong>the</strong> band<br />

played a selection ; and at eight o'clock<br />

blue-jackets and soldiers were let loose<br />

upon <strong>the</strong> poop, and swarmed wherever<br />

<strong>the</strong>y could find sitting, standing, or hang-<br />

ing room.<br />

The sergeant-major's lady, in her best<br />

gown ; <strong>the</strong> quartermaster-sergeant's lady<br />

and <strong>the</strong> schoolmaster's lady, in <strong>the</strong>ir best<br />

gowns, sweep past Mrs. Corporal Macpher-<br />

son and Mrs. Bombardier O'Flynn to <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

places in <strong>the</strong> front unreserved seats. Miss<br />

Polly is <strong>the</strong>re, giggling and blushing, in<br />

Maltese filigree ear-rings, and sailor's<br />

hat with " Tigris " ribbon, a tribute <strong>of</strong>


212 Chum s :<br />

admiration from <strong>the</strong> ship's steward, who<br />

has manoeuvred to sit next her. Pretty<br />

Polly was sorely tempted to decorate her-<br />

self with certain more expensive orna-<br />

ments, that Mrs. Sergeant -Major, her<br />

mamma, knew not <strong>of</strong>, but was afraid <strong>of</strong><br />

awkward questions ; though what was<br />

<strong>the</strong> harm <strong>of</strong> presents? and it was so nice<br />

to be treated like a lady ; so different,<br />

too, to those stupid great sergeant's<br />

manners.<br />

A stir amongst <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficers who are<br />

standing lounging about <strong>the</strong> chairs, and <strong>the</strong><br />

captain enters with Colonel and Lady<br />

Eilin<strong>of</strong>, Mrs. Stewart and several o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

ladies. They all take seats in <strong>the</strong> front<br />

row, and <strong>the</strong> remaining places are soon<br />

occupied. The merry jest and sparkling<br />

repartee are bandied amongst <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficers<br />

<strong>the</strong> shrill whistle <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> "gods " finds favour<br />

amongst <strong>the</strong> men.<br />

Below, in <strong>the</strong> saloon, a few tittering ser-<br />

vants hang about <strong>the</strong> pantry to give such<br />

;


^4 Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 218<br />

eflfervescent assistance as may be required<br />

by nervous performers. Cabin curtains are<br />

perpetually agitated, as half-dressed low<br />

comedy bolts out to borrow a pin from<br />

tragedy next door, or our " first walking<br />

gentleman,"' who has much to put on and<br />

nothing to say, finds stimulant necessary.<br />

Especially numerous and rapid are <strong>the</strong> dis-<br />

appearances into green room No. 8<br />

; fearful<br />

and wonderful are tlie chanoes wrouo-ht<br />

<strong>the</strong>re ; unknown and mysterious are <strong>the</strong><br />

faces which reappear from behind that<br />

impenetrable curtain ; for <strong>the</strong>re jjresides,<br />

in <strong>the</strong> gorgeous Oriental costume <strong>of</strong><br />

" Mahomet-Ali-Khan-Badoura," alias " Bill<br />

Spriggs," Turkish bath proprietor, Coxwell,<br />

<strong>the</strong> thin 'un, lieutenant royal navy, beauti-<br />

her, viliher, decrepitudinizer, and general<br />

"maker up" <strong>of</strong> old men and maidens, vil-<br />

lains and heroines. The first bell rings as<br />

Dr. and Mrs. Adams, app;irently awakened<br />

to <strong>the</strong> fact that something is yoiny, or about<br />

to go (ni^ appear at <strong>the</strong> side <strong>of</strong> tlie stage.


214 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

Captain Braddon's low voice is wafting<br />

soothing trifles into Mrs. Stewart's nearest<br />

" pink shell," and <strong>the</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> liead<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> army medical department and<br />

—<br />

her husband— is unnoticed by him now,<br />

as her existence had before been forgotten.<br />

The colonel notices, though. He knows<br />

<strong>the</strong> ''marching lady" by this time; has<br />

thoroughly mastered each <strong>of</strong> her little<br />

idiosyncrasies ; well understands her amiable<br />

foibles; and as Dr. Adams pauses at <strong>the</strong><br />

end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> front row, he nudges <strong>the</strong> worthy<br />

captain.<br />

Too late ! too late ! <strong>the</strong> pause is short.<br />

Mrs. Surgeon-General is a lady <strong>of</strong> deter-<br />

mination ; Mrs. Surgeon-General knows<br />

what is due to herselj\ <strong>the</strong> army medical<br />

department, and <strong>the</strong> surgeon-general, her<br />

husband; and ere <strong>the</strong> captain has dis-<br />

covered that a heinous crime has been<br />

committed, an outrageous <strong>of</strong>fence per-<br />

petrated, and, no seats been kept in <strong>the</strong><br />

front row for <strong>the</strong> "wife <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> sura-eon-


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queen .s <strong>Navy</strong>. 215<br />

general " and Dr. Adams, that distinguished<br />

couple <strong>of</strong> exalted relative rank have left<br />

<strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>atre, ra<strong>the</strong>r than submit to <strong>the</strong><br />

indignity <strong>of</strong> a back row.<br />

Dear old Braddon, than whom a kinder<br />

hearted fellow never drank a "six beller,"<br />

took <strong>the</strong> trouble to follow, and try to<br />

persuade <strong>the</strong>m to come back, but with no<br />

effect, and on his return <strong>the</strong> performance<br />

commenced.<br />

" Where all acquitted <strong>the</strong>mselves so ad-<br />

mirably, we feel that it would be invidious<br />

to, etc., etc. ; " you know how it runs. It<br />

is likely that you have seen amateur<br />

<strong>the</strong>atricals once or twice ; it is by no means<br />

improbable that 3^011 are aware <strong>of</strong> a latent<br />

<strong>the</strong>atrical genius lurking about your own<br />

modest frame; but it is absolutely certain<br />

that you would find a description <strong>of</strong> that<br />

entertainment tedious ; so we Avill be merci-<br />

ful, and merely remark, in <strong>the</strong> usual way,<br />

that " <strong>the</strong> curtain fell amid <strong>the</strong> well-earned<br />

plaudits <strong>of</strong> a delighted audience."


216 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

Quarter-past eleven, and a splendid night;<br />

when Daintree—once more clo<strong>the</strong>d respect-<br />

ably, and in his ordinary mind—found<br />

himself strolling on <strong>the</strong> site <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> late<br />

<strong>the</strong>atre, between Mrs. Faulkner and her<br />

sister Blanche, endeavouring—as tltey were<br />

also—to get cool.<br />

" Poor Cecil was quite out <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> fun,"<br />

he remarked, vigorously waving his fan.<br />

" Is he still on that tiresome watch ?<br />

asked Mrs. Faulkner.<br />

" Yes ; and I have to reheve him at mid-<br />

night, so shall not get any sleep until 4.0<br />

a.m. Every third ' 4 hours' watch' is an<br />

awful grind, and in a 'trooper' it's precious<br />

slow ;<br />

nothing to do."<br />

'' I suppose he is—by himself," observed<br />

Mrs. Faulkner, meditatively. She had not<br />

paid mucli attention to <strong>the</strong> last part <strong>of</strong><br />

Daintree's growl, and had not heard<br />

Blanche's gentle, " poor fellow !<br />

:<br />

"<br />

" at tlie<br />

end <strong>of</strong> it.<br />

"Who? Cecil?" said Daintree. "Oh


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 217<br />

yes, he is by himself, unless he has <strong>the</strong><br />

military <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> watch up <strong>the</strong>re, to<br />

keep him company." The '^ poor fellow ''<br />

escaped unconsciously from Mrs. Faulkner<br />

this time ; but Daintree's thoughts were<br />

wandering, and Blanche was out <strong>of</strong> hearing.<br />

Major Faulkner had turned in, and<br />

probably imagined that his wife had done<br />

likewise.<br />

" What a i>-lorious nio-ht it is !<br />

" continued<br />

Maggie. " It seems quite a shame to go to<br />

bed." And a couple <strong>of</strong> wakeful eyes<br />

wandered away towards <strong>the</strong> figure <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> watch tramping up and down<br />

in <strong>the</strong> distance.<br />

" Then, don't be shameful," said Daintree,<br />

promptly. " Come on <strong>the</strong> bridge. Monk-<br />

ton can bring you back when he goes <strong>of</strong>f<br />

watch at twelve o'clock."<br />

" It's dreadfully late," feebly objected<br />

Mrs. Faulkner. "What do you think,<br />

Blanche, dear ? "<br />

What Mrs. Faulkner wished w^as pretty


218 Clmms:<br />

evident ;<br />

and Blanche, expressing her will-<br />

ingness to stand on <strong>the</strong> bridge till mid-<br />

night, or even longer, <strong>the</strong>y marched forward<br />

in single file along <strong>the</strong> narrow passage<br />

by <strong>the</strong> womens' part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> deck.<br />

" The married women have all gone to<br />

bed now, or ought to have," said Daintree ;<br />

" but it's grand sport coming along here<br />

sometimes. You walk along just before<br />

sunset ! Each married man is seated at a<br />

highly respectable distance from his wife,<br />

and both <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m are playing, oh, so fondly,<br />

with <strong>the</strong> baby. You stroll along quietly an<br />

hour later, tlie sun having withdrawn his<br />

rays in <strong>the</strong> interval. The babies have dis-<br />

appeared, goodness only knows how, or<br />

where, and <strong>the</strong> amount <strong>of</strong> obstruction<br />

caused by male arms thrown across <strong>the</strong><br />

rails, and supporting female heads, is pro-<br />

digious, <strong>the</strong> osculatory noises are deafening.<br />

By Jove, <strong>the</strong>re's someone at it now ! Halloh<br />

<strong>the</strong>re ! Why it's—oh ! Good<br />

night, good<br />

night," he broke <strong>of</strong>f, hurriedly, as a figure


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Quee/i,s <strong>Navy</strong>. 21*J<br />

started up on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rails and<br />

ran quickly by <strong>the</strong>m, giving <strong>the</strong>m barely<br />

time to recognise pretty Miss Polly.<br />

The military <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> watch was not<br />

on <strong>the</strong> bridge, and Monkton told him that<br />

that gallant personage had not reported<br />

his " rounds " for <strong>the</strong> last hour. Nei<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>m said that <strong>the</strong>y knew why, but <strong>the</strong>y<br />

thought that <strong>the</strong>y did, or that at all events<br />

Polly might have a notion. Poor Polly •<br />

Ornaments from " our young <strong>of</strong>ficers<br />

may be very nice, but may be too dearly<br />

purchased. Kissing may grow tame.<br />

On <strong>the</strong> bridge <strong>the</strong> ladies chatted away<br />

merrily, and <strong>the</strong> men smoked, chatting like-<br />

wise. One might be led to infer from this<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y all chatted toge<strong>the</strong>r ; but it was<br />

not so. Mrs. Faulkner and Monkton chatted<br />

v/hilst Monkton smoked on <strong>the</strong> port end <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> bridge ; and Blanche and Daintree<br />

chatted whilst Daintree smoked on <strong>the</strong> star-<br />

board extremity. Yi Ormby might have<br />

won her bangles that night— you remember<br />

"


220 Churns<br />

her bet with Daintree that he would be<br />

engaged before reaching Bombay ?—but<br />

for <strong>the</strong> innocent, and confiding, but very<br />

disturbing element on board <strong>the</strong> ship, in <strong>the</strong><br />

form <strong>of</strong> Miss Effie Stewart, which she had<br />

certainly not calculated upon.<br />

A flushed, frightened little face, turning<br />

shyly towards him, seemed to Daintree to<br />

shut out Blanche, whenever he bent more<br />

closely towards her, as <strong>the</strong>y both leant over<br />

<strong>the</strong> bridge rails. Twice, when he made some<br />

thoughtless remark to her, she had looked<br />

quickly at him as he waited expectantly for<br />

her reply ; but it was a voice, timid and<br />

broken, which, drowning Blanche's merry<br />

tones, seemed to answer back, " I'm sure it<br />

is wrong, and I can't help it."<br />

Stupid fancies ; but <strong>the</strong>y would not be<br />

shaken <strong>of</strong>f, and Blanche had twice asked<br />

impatiently if it was not nearly twelve<br />

o'clock ? At last eight belis struck. The<br />

jnilitary <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> next—<strong>the</strong> middle<br />

:<br />

—<br />

watch staggered up sleepily, a few minutes


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 221<br />

afterwards, to report his men " all cor-<br />

rect," and Monkton escorted <strong>the</strong> ladies<br />

below, leaving Daintree to indulge in four<br />

hours more <strong>of</strong> stupid fancies.<br />

^^'<br />

74K<br />

'c3


CHAPTEE IX.<br />

mjm^miiAT time have yuu drawn in<br />

S||f|fe tlie lotter}^ Captain HaAv-<br />

tliorne ? " said Miss Dutton as,<br />

a few evenings after <strong>the</strong> <strong>the</strong>atrical enter-<br />

tainment, a more than nsnally smiling<br />

throng <strong>of</strong> messmates took <strong>the</strong>ir seats at<br />

<strong>the</strong> table.<br />

This is a great occasion ; for <strong>the</strong> " Officers<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> 160 and Drafts" are o-ivin^f a fare-<br />

well dinner to <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Tigris.<br />

By reqnest <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> colonel, and to keep up<br />

<strong>the</strong> spirit <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> feed, soldiers are occupy-<br />

ing <strong>the</strong> places, generally filled by naval<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers, at <strong>the</strong> heads <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tables. The<br />

messman has prepared a most sumptuous<br />

repast ; liquor is to flow freely, and every-<br />

one is to be thoroughly jolly, for this is also


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 223<br />

<strong>the</strong> last night at sea ; early to-morrow we<br />

expect to anchor <strong>of</strong>f Bombay.<br />

" 6.0 to 6.15 p.m.," replied Hawthorne to<br />

Miss Button's question. "Though certain<br />

to win," he continued, " I don't mind let-<br />

ting yoic, and you only, have my ticket at<br />

half-price."<br />

"Xo, thanks," laughed Blanche; "Mr.<br />

Daintree and I have gone shares, and in-<br />

tend to win, don't we, Mr. Daintree ? "<br />

"I am afraid I must send a fiver to<br />

Emanuel," said Daintree, thoughtfully<br />

" but all <strong>the</strong> remainder shall be spent on<br />

useful things, such as fusees, and a wed-<br />

ding ring, and some shoe laces."<br />

The old doctor, who had started bo'dly<br />

on a dry champagne— about <strong>the</strong> only decent<br />

drink purchased for troop ships by <strong>the</strong><br />

mixed—<strong>the</strong> very much mixed—committee <strong>of</strong><br />

naval and military <strong>of</strong>ficers— was now heard<br />

to mumble, "D'ye hear <strong>the</strong> young jack-a-<br />

napes? Eh ? Paying his debts before he's<br />

won <strong>the</strong> money, and he'll send a fiver to<br />

;


224 <strong>Chums</strong>:<br />

Emanuel, and buy a wedding ring, will he ?<br />

What ? D'ye hear him ? A wedding ring !<br />

What ? " And having demolished his own<br />

and his right hand neighbour's bread, he<br />

began an extraordinarily vicious attack<br />

npon <strong>the</strong> crumbs.<br />

" Oh, yes," chimed in Effie, to Blanche's<br />

delight, asking <strong>the</strong> very question she would<br />

have put herself had she dared ; " and<br />

what will you do with <strong>the</strong> wedding ring,<br />

1 wonder ? "<br />

"/rideed," sarcastically grumbled <strong>the</strong> old<br />

doctor, in blissful ignorance, thanks to his<br />

crumbs, that half a dozen pairs <strong>of</strong> delighted<br />

ears were strained to catch his remarks.<br />

'' r?ideed I A<br />

little unsophisticated pet !<br />

Wonders who is to have <strong>the</strong> weddino^ ringf,<br />

eh ? Perhaps she'll wonder who's trying<br />

for it next. Miss ' Sprained ankle and<br />

striped stockings' don't wonder much about<br />

that, I know! What?"<br />

Blanche felt and looked ra<strong>the</strong>r uncom-<br />

fortable at <strong>the</strong> latter part <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> doctor's


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Qiieeris <strong>Navy</strong>. 225<br />

speech ; but Effie had spoken, and it was<br />

Effie, <strong>of</strong> course, who claimed attention.<br />

Poor Effie ! It was a shame ; everyone<br />

else happened to be so quiet ; and how<br />

could he dare to imagine that she— What<br />

must <strong>the</strong>y all think ? Poor Effie ! It was<br />

impossible to feel surprised at <strong>the</strong> wi<strong>the</strong>r-<br />

ing young ladylike curse, <strong>the</strong> malignant<br />

young ladylike prayer, <strong>the</strong> dreadful young<br />

ladylike language which escaped her, as<br />

nervously re-arranging her dinner napkin<br />

with tears in her eyes, she muttered, " 1<br />

do hope and jiray that you may never,<br />

no nevei\ find anyone so stupid as to<br />

marry you ; and I'm sure you never will,<br />

if you wait till doomsday, and I<br />

—<br />

kate<br />

you ; you 7iasty, xMEan, SPITEFUL old<br />

WBETCH! I do."<br />

Blanche muttered nothing. She merely<br />

made ano<strong>the</strong>r mental note <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> surprising<br />

efficacy <strong>of</strong> a judicious display <strong>of</strong> " Stripes<br />

and ankle."<br />

Daintree, with a glance <strong>of</strong> not unmixed<br />

VOL. II. Q


226 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

delight at <strong>the</strong> fully occupied and unconscious<br />

Dr. Giles, said, quietly, " Oh ! /<br />

shall wear <strong>the</strong> wedding ring, <strong>of</strong> course.<br />

Looks as if one's a widower. Gives a sort<br />

<strong>of</strong> possible fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> a family aspect to a<br />

fellow."<br />

" It would take a good many wedding-<br />

rings and unlimited faith to make one<br />

believe you fa<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong> a family," said Monk-<br />

ton.<br />

" I'm afraid it would," agreed Daintree,<br />

sadly. " But fusees and shoe laces don't<br />

cost much as a rule, so <strong>the</strong>re'll be enough<br />

money left for an whole cargo <strong>of</strong> wedding-<br />

rings, and surely some persons will believe<br />

that I was once sufficiently presentable to<br />

get a girl to marry me, and take me away<br />

for a honeymoon, and<br />

"<br />

'' Commit suicide, and leave you a<br />

widower <strong>the</strong> moment <strong>the</strong> sweetness was<br />

expended, and she found you out," con-<br />

cluded Monkton, amidst a general laugh.<br />

" Ah ! If <strong>the</strong>y'd only always do that<br />

:<br />

!


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 227<br />

Eh ? " muttered <strong>the</strong> old doctor, s<strong>of</strong>tly rub-<br />

bing his hands toge<strong>the</strong>r beneath <strong>the</strong> table.<br />

And carried away by <strong>the</strong> bare possibihty <strong>of</strong><br />

such a grand consummation <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> honey-<br />

moon, he added, aloud, with a roguish look<br />

at Blanche, " Worse things than matrimony,<br />

eh, Miss Button ? For all <strong>of</strong> us. What ? "<br />

The old boy chuckled, and caught <strong>the</strong> eye<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> waiter with <strong>the</strong> " dry." He was<br />

getting very lively, was old Giles ; so was<br />

Major Bolton ; so was " old Jinks " ; so<br />

were <strong>the</strong> more frolicsome ladies, in <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

airy, ladylike way ;<br />

so were all <strong>the</strong> dwellers<br />

in " Pandemonium," who seated at a side<br />

table, and presided over, " positively for<br />

this night only," by <strong>the</strong> junior subaltern,<br />

were evidently going to "go it."<br />

Too hot for anyone to be particularly<br />

hungry, on this special occasion, all did<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir duty unflinchingly, and as <strong>the</strong><br />

joints appeared <strong>the</strong> conversation waned<br />

considerably.<br />

It was about an hour later on in <strong>the</strong><br />

g2


228 Cliuim:<br />

evening, and immediately after a gazelle-<br />

like contortion <strong>of</strong> Mrs. Stewart's, by which<br />

she contrived to eat a cherry over her left<br />

shoulder from <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> a fork carried<br />

round her back in her right hand— an<br />

evolution which Mrs. Bartram convulsively<br />

endeavoured to imitate -that Colonel Eiling<br />

rose, amid general acclamation to propose<br />

<strong>the</strong> toast <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> evening :<br />

" Health and<br />

speedy promotion to <strong>the</strong> <strong>of</strong>ficers <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

Tigrish He was what <strong>the</strong>y call a good<br />

after-dinner speaker, and Captain Braddon<br />

fairly blushed at his own good qualities, as<br />

discovered or invented, and enthusiastically<br />

expatiated upon by <strong>the</strong> colonel.<br />

" Eule Britannia," thundered <strong>the</strong> band<br />

just outside <strong>the</strong> doors <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> saloon. All<br />

<strong>the</strong> soldiers stood to drink, and as <strong>the</strong><br />

2frand old air was finished, a rin<strong>of</strong>insf cheer,<br />

led by <strong>the</strong> colonel, burst from <strong>the</strong>m.<br />

No sooner had tlie " One more " ! " Again<br />

so ! " died away, than " Old Jinks," in a key<br />

<strong>of</strong> surpassing height, and in tones <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 229<br />

deepest despondency, commenced — oi',<br />

ra<strong>the</strong>r, was surprised in <strong>the</strong> middle <strong>of</strong>—<br />

"For <strong>the</strong>y are joll' goo' fellows ;" nei<strong>the</strong>r<br />

did a general shout <strong>of</strong> laughter have o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

effect than to make that most senior and<br />

gallant commander <strong>of</strong> a company carefully<br />

adjust his eye-glass—have I mentioned<br />

that all <strong>the</strong> 160 wore eye-glasses—? and recommenced<br />

his supernatural noises. He<br />

seemed pained, however, when Major<br />

Bolton, who sat near, asked if someone<br />

would not tell <strong>the</strong> old idiot to shut up, but<br />

regained his composure, and pitched his<br />

mere personal feelings overboard, and his<br />

voice in a somewhat lower tone <strong>of</strong> despon-<br />

dency, as " So say all <strong>of</strong> us," started afresh<br />

by Hawthorne, rang through <strong>the</strong> saloon in<br />

an attainable key. The captain returned<br />

thanks for thr-. <strong>of</strong>ficers and himself in a<br />

short, hearty speech, and, as he concluded<br />

by proposing <strong>the</strong> health <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> military<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers on board, <strong>the</strong> band struck up '' The<br />

British Grenadiers."


23U <strong>Chums</strong><br />

At <strong>the</strong> captain's proposal, <strong>the</strong> few naval<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers, not more than a dozen, stood on<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir chairs, giving three cheers, manfnlly,<br />

and "For <strong>the</strong>y are jolly good fellows,"<br />

lustily. In <strong>the</strong> musical portion, indeed,<br />

<strong>the</strong>y received considerable help from a<br />

totally unexpected quarter, for "Old Jinks,"<br />

having been permitted to join in on <strong>the</strong><br />

previous occasion, and seeing no reason for<br />

remaining silent under existing circum-<br />

stances, had, with infinite labour, ascended<br />

his chair at <strong>the</strong> same time as Monkton, and<br />

now vehemently asserted his conviction<br />

that, " They are joll' goo' fellows." Bolton,<br />

on <strong>the</strong> opposite side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> table, having<br />

imbibed a sufficiency <strong>of</strong> champagne, grew<br />

so wildly indignant with <strong>the</strong> doubly elevated<br />

songster, towards <strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last " Hip-<br />

pip-ip hooray," that Hawthorne with diffi-<br />

culty prevented his breaking <strong>the</strong> peace, a<br />

wine glass, and " Old Jinks' " head ; whilst<br />

<strong>the</strong> doctor, having also imbibed a sufficiency<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> same liquid, but with different result,<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 2 '61<br />

wa8 so immeasurably tickled at <strong>the</strong> idea <strong>of</strong><br />

Old Jinks drinking his own health and<br />

smging his own "joll' goo'" praises, that,<br />

after two or three struggles to propound a<br />

question, which only brought forth " Eh ?<br />

He ! What ? " he pressed one hand to<br />

Ha !<br />

his aching old side, and with <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

])ointed towards <strong>the</strong> carolling Jinks, sub-<br />

sided into his chair, and proceeded to choke<br />

himself by drinking everybody's health,<br />

without fur<strong>the</strong>r ceremony.<br />

More toasts followed, as o<strong>the</strong>rs had preceded<br />

<strong>the</strong> two specially noticed ; but we<br />

may safely draw a veil over all but <strong>the</strong> one<br />

wliicli concerned <strong>the</strong> fair sex. We dare not<br />

let down a lady's veil.<br />

The adjutant <strong>the</strong>n, in glowing terms,<br />

])r()posed ''The Ladies! God bless <strong>the</strong>m,"<br />

He was an engaged man.<br />

With what rapturous applause was <strong>the</strong><br />

toast received ! With<br />

and nods was it drunk !<br />

what numerous smiles<br />

Witli what rigidly<br />

unconscious features did each bachelor, after


232 Chu ins<br />

<strong>the</strong> hurrahs and table banging, strive to<br />

conceal his fear that he might be called<br />

upon to respond for <strong>the</strong> blessed ones<br />

The captain looked anxiously round upon<br />

<strong>the</strong> unmarried naval men ; <strong>the</strong> colonel<br />

looked anxiously around upon <strong>the</strong> unmarried<br />

military men ; but all those gallant<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers looked as though <strong>the</strong> task was quite<br />

beyond <strong>the</strong>ir strength, and as if thoroughly<br />

conscious <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir inability to talk suffi-<br />

ciently to inspire anyone with <strong>the</strong> belief<br />

that <strong>the</strong>y—poor tongue-tied devils—could<br />

possibly represent <strong>the</strong> Ladies.<br />

The names <strong>of</strong> several <strong>of</strong>ficers, who, ac-<br />

cording to <strong>the</strong> dwellers in Pandemonium,<br />

were burning to be heard, were shouted<br />

from <strong>the</strong> side table ; but as <strong>the</strong> men <strong>the</strong>m-<br />

selves seemed quite content to smoulder<br />

away ra<strong>the</strong>r than give vent to <strong>the</strong>ir intei"nal<br />

raging, <strong>the</strong> " C.O's." remained still anxious<br />

and uneasy. It was at this moment <strong>of</strong><br />

doubt and uneasiness that <strong>the</strong> colonel, in<br />

his present character <strong>of</strong> messmate and jolly<br />

:<br />

!


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 233<br />

good fellow, liad an idea. It was a grand<br />

conception, and, as snch, he felt it unneces-<br />

sary to explain <strong>the</strong> obvious fact, that merely<br />

in liis private capacity had he conceived<br />

and brought it forth. The <strong>of</strong>fspring <strong>of</strong> his<br />

" private capacity " was soon public pro-<br />

perty. The difficulty was solved, and <strong>the</strong><br />

ladies, by request <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> captain, proceeded<br />

to nominate <strong>the</strong>ir own champion.<br />

After many whispered consultations and<br />

suggestions on <strong>the</strong> backs <strong>of</strong> meiiu^, <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

decision was announced, and, amid boister-<br />

ous applause, <strong>the</strong> unabashed IJaintree stood<br />

forth, <strong>the</strong> chosen champion <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ladies.<br />

"Captain Braddon, Colonel Kiling, and<br />

<strong>of</strong>ficers," he commenced, as soon as <strong>the</strong> ap-<br />

plause had, in some degree, subsided, " <strong>of</strong><br />

course, I need scarcely tell you that this is<br />

<strong>the</strong> proudest moment <strong>of</strong> my life, and that<br />

this proud moment more than repays me<br />

for never having got a wife."<br />

" Oh, it's poetry !<br />

I am so glad," cried<br />

<strong>the</strong> little grass widow, delightedly.


234 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

Daiiitree, who had made shght pauses<br />

after " hfe " and " Avife," looked perfectly<br />

innocent <strong>of</strong> any intentional poetic effusion,<br />

but <strong>the</strong> notion was too good to be over-<br />

looked, and <strong>the</strong> ladies promptly commanded<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir proud representative to respond in<br />

verse.<br />

" Am I <strong>the</strong> Laureate, tluit I should<br />

overflow with metrical composition at a<br />

moment's notice ? " demanded Daintree, in<br />

helpless tones, but beginning at once to<br />

rack his brains for rhymes. Ladies after<br />

dinner are presumably more reasonable<br />

than men, for our female friends did not<br />

press <strong>the</strong> point, and Daintree would have<br />

been allowed to finish his speech in prose,<br />

Jiad not <strong>the</strong> uin-easoning males decided<br />

that poetry alone befitted <strong>the</strong> occasion.<br />

Composition at <strong>the</strong> table being generally<br />

admitted to be difficult, if not impossible,<br />

at <strong>the</strong> ladies' suggestion, and in <strong>the</strong> hope<br />

that <strong>the</strong> surroundings would cause a How<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> necessary ideas, tlie poet was con-


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 285<br />

veyed to <strong>the</strong> ladies' cabin, and locked in<br />

for a quarter <strong>of</strong> an hour.<br />

. At<br />

<strong>the</strong> end <strong>of</strong> that time he was triumph-<br />

antly carried towards his seat by a couple<br />

<strong>of</strong> subalterns, who stood him on <strong>the</strong> chair,<br />

placed <strong>the</strong> paper containing his poems in<br />

his hand, a lad3"'s sun-hat—abstracted from<br />

<strong>the</strong> cabin—upon his head, and withdrew.<br />

Waving unnecessary preamble, <strong>the</strong> re-<br />

presentative thus responded :<br />

—<br />

Obedient ever to angelic cries,<br />

An 'uml)le man, humility now flies,<br />

And as prmid representative, I rise.<br />

Ami join <strong>the</strong> ladies.<br />

'* Well, I never!'' ejaculated <strong>the</strong> little<br />

grass widow.<br />

" That's a leetle more than Ave bargained<br />

for," laughed Mrs. Bartram.<br />

" Hold on a minute, old fellow ;<br />

77/ join<br />

too ; " cried " Old Jinks," making an attempt<br />

to again mount his chair, and being sup-<br />

pressed by Monkton. He looked grieved<br />

at his endeavours being frustrated, but evi-<br />

dently bore no malice ; foi", seizing Cecil's


236 ChI'll nib- :<br />

hand, he said, gently, " God blesh you !<br />

God blesh you!" And subsidmg well into<br />

his chair, he contented himself with murmuring<br />

in determined tones, " We will : we<br />

will. We do :<br />

we<br />

do," etc., at intervals<br />

during <strong>the</strong> progress <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> rhyme.<br />

Eepresentative :<br />

—<br />

We all most deeply feel <strong>the</strong> compliment<br />

You've paid <strong>the</strong> sex we proudly represent<br />

And if we've used you badly, we'll repent.<br />

We will, we ladies.<br />

Dissentient sounds and sighs from <strong>the</strong><br />

unrepentant cruel ones.<br />

" Ha, ha !<br />

Eh<br />

? D'ye hear <strong>the</strong> young-<br />

jackanapes ? What? They look like re-<br />

penting, don't <strong>the</strong>y P Eh ? " Discordant<br />

queries and laughter from old Giles.<br />

Eepresentative :<br />

Our journey almost over, we confess<br />

We thought, at starting, we should like it less,<br />

And never dreamt <strong>of</strong> so much liappiness<br />

For us, <strong>the</strong> ladies.<br />

Contented looks and waving fans amongst<br />

<strong>the</strong> fair ones.<br />

Prolonged guttural sounds from <strong>the</strong> doc-<br />

tor, terminating in, "Eh? Happiness?<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 237<br />

Great heavens ! What, what, what ? So<br />

it is though What?"<br />

Representative :<br />

—<br />

—<br />

We ra<strong>the</strong>r liked that rollino: in <strong>the</strong> Bay."<br />

Chorus <strong>of</strong> ladies :<br />

Oh I how<br />

can yon, Mr. Daintree?<br />

Representative continuing :<br />

—<br />

Sea sickne.ss does one so much good, <strong>the</strong>y say<br />

And quite oijoyed <strong>the</strong> gale tlie o<strong>the</strong>r day.<br />

We did, we ladies.<br />

Recitative, Mrs. Bartram :<br />

Just hear <strong>the</strong> man !<br />

Chorus <strong>of</strong> ladies :<br />

Oh ! how<br />

can you, Mr. Daintree?<br />

Representative :<br />

Of admiration we've received much more<br />

Than falls to us poor tied-up ones on shore ;<br />

Our husbands, too, for once, scarce seem to bore<br />

Us married ladies.<br />

"How shocking! What a horrid little<br />

man he is," laughingly whispered Mrs.<br />

Bartram to Jones, <strong>the</strong> Sapper.<br />

" Too dreadful ! Fancy<br />

—<br />

it was true," whis-<br />

pered Jones, <strong>the</strong> Sapper, to Mrs. Bartram.<br />

" By Jove ! you know. He's not far<br />

wrong about <strong>the</strong> admiration on shore.<br />

Don't get much <strong>of</strong> it <strong>the</strong>re. Eh, Maria?"<br />

And <strong>the</strong> gallant Bartram cliuckled at his<br />

hit at his wife.


—<br />

238 <strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

Blake looked anxiously at his bride, and<br />

frowned ominously on surprising her in<br />

a laugh. The only ones who seemed<br />

to thoroughly enjoy <strong>the</strong> joke were <strong>the</strong><br />

maidens and bachelors.<br />

Eepresentative :<br />

And as for us who still urifetter'd fly,<br />

" E'en soldiers" wives we'll be "<br />

! is now our cry. -<br />

" Oh ! I'm sure I never—that is—Oh !<br />

Exclamation, pr<strong>of</strong>use blushes, and collapse<br />

—Miss Stewart.<br />

Eepresentative continuing :<br />

—<br />

Good for naught else—with troopships <strong>the</strong>y'll supply<br />

Us single ladies.<br />

Exultant laughter from elderly married<br />

men and matrons, benedicts, and brides.<br />

"If I don't pay you out for that, Mr.<br />

Francis !<br />

Dutton.<br />

" Exclamation, sotto voce, Miss<br />

" I shall be happy to supply," com-<br />

menced Hawthorne, looking laughingly to-<br />

wards Blanche ; but he was quickly .cut<br />

short by, " If you please. Captain Haw-<br />

thorne ; if you please," from Major Bol-<br />

ton, who, at this stage <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> banquet,<br />

"


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 239<br />

evinced a rampant desire to consider every-<br />

thing a personal insult. " Thw,'' he con-<br />

tinued, waving his hand comprehensively<br />

towards <strong>the</strong> decanters, and looking at<br />

Hawthorne much as though he had<br />

caught him playing leap-frog over a<br />

near relative's tombstone, " This is hardly<br />

a fitting time for levity and-<br />

"<br />

"Ha, ha! That's on <strong>the</strong>m! What?'^<br />

jerked out <strong>the</strong> old doctor, avIio had been<br />

slowly recovering speech since Daintree's<br />

last verse. " Good for nought else, eh ?<br />

To it again, my boy. To it again."<br />

Eepresentative :<br />

—<br />

Lastly, we maidens, wives, grass widows hope<br />

That naval men, when spliced, may keep <strong>the</strong> rope.<br />

And sailors' wives at sea soon have full scope,<br />

Like " ti'ooping ladies."<br />

The representative paused here for a<br />

moment to murmur fervently to himself,<br />

" May Heaven forgive and forget that<br />

last wish ; " <strong>the</strong>n continued, aloud and<br />

rapidly :<br />

My task is o'er, unsliackled is tlie link<br />

Twixt man and angels ;- I, poor man, must sink.<br />

Still once I was, 'twill Ite my j-ride to think,<br />

A real lady.


240 <strong>Chums</strong> :<br />

With a melancholy smile, wliich only<br />

served to increase <strong>the</strong> general laughter,<br />

Daintree divested himself <strong>of</strong> his sun-bon-<br />

net, and resumed his seat.<br />

After a few minutes, Lady Eiling bowed<br />

to Mrs. Stewart, and <strong>the</strong>y both left <strong>the</strong><br />

table ; <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r ladies gradually following<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir example.<br />

The captain and colonel soon strolled<br />

away to have a cigarette in <strong>the</strong> former's<br />

cabin, and shortly afterwards it became<br />

evident from <strong>the</strong> crash <strong>of</strong> breaking glass<br />

and falling chairs, that excitement reigned<br />

at <strong>the</strong> side table.<br />

A final crash, and <strong>the</strong> inhabitants <strong>of</strong><br />

" The Palace <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Devils " arose with<br />

one fiendish accord, and approached <strong>the</strong><br />

centre <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> long table on <strong>the</strong> starboard<br />

side. In tlieir midst was borne on high<br />

<strong>the</strong> long subaltern, who taciturn as a<br />

general rule—was found by experiencie to<br />

be so irrepressibly loquacious after a big<br />

dinner, that IVovidence appeared to have


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 241<br />

specially designed him for occasions like<br />

<strong>the</strong> present.<br />

Placing him upon a chair—an elevated<br />

position which obliged him to thrust his<br />

head out from between <strong>the</strong> beams, and<br />

assume a stooping, crane-like attitude, by<br />

no means conducive to true dignity—<strong>the</strong><br />

lesser imps fell back, and formed an ad-<br />

miring throng around <strong>the</strong>ir ArcKd Fiend.<br />

" Offcers," commenced His Satanic High-<br />

ness, glaring angrily at " Old Jinks," who,<br />

on <strong>the</strong> approach <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> deputation, had<br />

slowly advanced to meet it.<br />

"<br />

" Offcers<br />

Messmates ! I come to<br />

" Hold on minute, old fellow, Pll come<br />

too,'' said Jinks ; making a vigorous effort<br />

to ascend <strong>the</strong> chair by swarming up <strong>the</strong><br />

long subaltern's legs.<br />

The head <strong>of</strong> " Pandemonium " tried hard<br />

to hold on by <strong>the</strong> beams, were it only for a<br />

second, but was far too lengthy and shaky<br />

about <strong>the</strong> pins to stand against <strong>the</strong> fierce<br />

energy <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> ardent '' Jinks." With a<br />

VOL. II. R<br />

!


242 Chturns :<br />

suppressed cry, which might have been a<br />

curse, he bent, he fell ; " Jinks " did<br />

likewise, and received <strong>the</strong> orator full on<br />

his stomach. A groan from <strong>the</strong> depths<br />

<strong>of</strong> old Jinks' stomach, a growl from <strong>the</strong><br />

orator, and <strong>the</strong> latter struggled to his feet,<br />

was immediately rushed at, and replaced<br />

on high.<br />

" Jinks " having recovered his eye-glass<br />

and breath, slowly arose and looked around;<br />

when finding everything in stati(, quo ante<br />

<strong>the</strong> fall, he said, with panting, but gentle<br />

warmth, " Mind ye, I don't complain.<br />

Eemember, I bear no malice. Own fault<br />

p'raps. But I think ; I do think, it's little<br />

hard—sitting on—bro<strong>the</strong>r <strong>of</strong>fcer's stomach.<br />

Ticiilarly—I say^ more parXicXj as I'd<br />

ishued no 'nvitations''<br />

The throng showed unmistakable signs<br />

<strong>of</strong> understanding and appreciating <strong>the</strong><br />

worthy major's feelings, but <strong>the</strong> orator,<br />

unable to overcome a little natural soreness,<br />

was commencing an indignant reply, Avhen


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 243<br />

^' old Jinks," with a great burst <strong>of</strong> com-<br />

passion, said, " God blesh you !<br />

God<br />

blesh<br />

you ! I don't complain! Pll come too,'' and<br />

once more applied himself diligently to <strong>the</strong><br />

task <strong>of</strong> ascending <strong>the</strong> chair.<br />

" No, you don't. Not again, if I know<br />

it," resounded from <strong>the</strong> ceiling, as one<br />

long leg was promptly detached for duty<br />

from <strong>the</strong> chair, and poor " old Jinks " once<br />

more experienced a " sort <strong>of</strong> sinking."<br />

" Come along, old fellow," said Monkton,<br />

thinking that quite enough sport had been<br />

got out <strong>of</strong> Jinks ; " time we were all in<br />

bed now."<br />

" Awright," gasped Jinks ;<br />

" " awright,<br />

Monkton. God blesh you ! P'raps t'would<br />

be better. Don't seem thoroughly 'predated<br />

here."<br />

In ten minutes he was asleep in his cabin,<br />

and <strong>the</strong> number <strong>of</strong> people who met " old<br />

Jinks' " servant next morning, carrying<br />

soda, was surprising.<br />

With many sounds <strong>of</strong> approval from his<br />

r2


244 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

supporters, did <strong>the</strong> long " Elect " <strong>of</strong> Pan-<br />

demonium resume his discourse, and <strong>the</strong><br />

o<strong>the</strong>r listeners gradually ga<strong>the</strong>red that " all<br />

Pandemonium " felt slighted, inasmuch as<br />

not one individual member had been<br />

" toasted."<br />

The mistake was speedily and thoroughly<br />

rectified, and " all Pandemonium " retired<br />

to <strong>the</strong> side table again.<br />

Eemember, reader, that this has been<br />

a special dinner.<br />

Time passed on ! One<br />

:<br />

by one <strong>the</strong> tables<br />

were deserted, and most <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> diners irn-<br />

hunked <strong>the</strong>mselves in <strong>the</strong>ir narrow cells.<br />

Not so, however, did all our messmates ;<br />

and <strong>of</strong> those who remained to enjoy yet<br />

more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> last night at sea, two couple<br />

were on <strong>the</strong> bridge. Daintree was <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong> first watch, and, with Effie Stewart to<br />

help him keep it, did not seem anxious for<br />

12 o clock. Mrs. Stewart, talking to <strong>the</strong><br />

captain on <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r side <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> bridge, was<br />

also on watch. " Surely," she was thinking.


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>Queen's</strong> <strong>Navy</strong>. 245<br />

*' Mr. Daintree will say something definite<br />

to her to-night." Vain hope ! Daintree<br />

was in his most intensely indefinite<br />

mood.<br />

They had agreed this evening to exchange<br />

photographs, and after much<br />

pressing, Efiie had promised him that " if<br />

mamma did not mind," she would write<br />

an account <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir journey to Agra.<br />

Upon which, Daintree, with his vague<br />

inconsistency -more vague, more incon-<br />

sistent than ever to-night—caught himself<br />

wondering whe<strong>the</strong>r starting a correspon-<br />

dence with a girl in India might not<br />

prove an awful nuisance. The old story<br />

She had shown her heart, and he -no ;<br />

not quite <strong>the</strong> old story, for he had not<br />

" trampled on it." It had been too easy,<br />

that was all. She was all that is nice, all<br />

that is charming, hut it had been so<br />

easy. And what was her rank now P<br />

" Dear little thing." " Poor little girl."<br />

Was he wrong? I give it up. I am a<br />

!


246 CImms<br />

man. It is human nature, at any rate,<br />

not to trample ; but to pity^ and— grow<br />

weary.<br />

We will leave human nature to fight its<br />

own battle against frailty : for us, forgetful-<br />

ness in sleep seems to present greater<br />

advantages than appertain to ei<strong>the</strong>r tramp-<br />

ling or pitying. To bed <strong>the</strong>n. Oblivion.<br />

10.0 a.m., and after a cruise from Ports-<br />

mouth <strong>of</strong> a little under five weeks, Colaba<br />

lighthouse is within four or five miles <strong>of</strong> us,<br />

with <strong>the</strong> aristocratic Malabar Hill, in <strong>the</strong><br />

distance.<br />

Two people upon <strong>the</strong> poop are too in-<br />

tent upon watching one <strong>of</strong> those elaborate<br />

clocks supplied by <strong>the</strong> Admiralty to H.M.<br />

ships to care much about <strong>the</strong> beauties <strong>of</strong><br />

lighthouse or hill. They certainly glance<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten and anxiously towards Colaba, but<br />

with mercenary ra<strong>the</strong>r than artistic feel-<br />

ings ; for if <strong>the</strong> Tigris passes <strong>the</strong> lights<br />

at any time between 10.15 and 10.80, as<br />

shown by <strong>the</strong> hands <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> aforesaid costly<br />

:


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 247<br />

time-piece (three shillings and sixpence<br />

contract), <strong>the</strong>y pocket <strong>the</strong> sweepstakes.<br />

The tide is against us.—10.25! The gong<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> tell-<strong>tale</strong> sounds, and an order is given<br />

from <strong>the</strong> bridge, through <strong>the</strong> voice-tube, to<br />

<strong>the</strong> engine-room. Should that order have<br />

been to " ease <strong>the</strong> engines," our two mer-<br />

cenary characters will be sold, as Daintree<br />

—who is one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m—knows full well,<br />

and as Blanche Button—who is <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r<br />

—suspects.<br />

Ten seconds <strong>of</strong> suspense ! Then<br />

round<br />

goes <strong>the</strong> screw faster than ever ; <strong>the</strong> order<br />

was to increase speed, and at 10.29 Miss<br />

Dutton and Daintree divide <strong>the</strong> spoil, which<br />

takes <strong>the</strong> sterling form <strong>of</strong> twenty sovereigns<br />

—no " rupees " yet.<br />

Mrs. Stewart, whose " ticket for tiuie<br />

showed 10.30 to 10.45, was <strong>of</strong> course de-<br />

lighted at dear Blanche's good luck. She<br />

said she was, and she ought to know. In<br />

ano<strong>the</strong>r half-hour we are made fast to our<br />

buoy in Bombay harbour, and <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> fun<br />

"


248 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

begins. "Dug-outs," " dingys," and jolly<br />

boats, shove <strong>of</strong>f from <strong>the</strong> Apollo Bunder,<br />

and with <strong>the</strong>ir black, bare-skinned paddlers,<br />

swarm alongside <strong>the</strong> port gangway, anxious<br />

to take everyone or anyone on shore, for<br />

eight, six, four, or even two annas.<br />

To <strong>the</strong> port gangway also, are paddled,<br />

in well-cushioned jolly boats, and under<br />

gay awnings, Sorabjee <strong>the</strong> contractor, and<br />

many ano<strong>the</strong>r Manockjee, or Pestonjee<br />

Nourabhoy, oj' Heerjebhoy ; iong-white-<br />

shirted Parsees, ponderous bellied and in-<br />

dolent, now that <strong>the</strong>ir fortune is made<br />

observant as crossing sweepers, obsequious<br />

as hair dressers, in <strong>the</strong> coining.<br />

iiut, if black and copper-colour have it<br />

all <strong>the</strong>ir own way on <strong>the</strong> port side, <strong>the</strong><br />

starboard is sacred to white, and liver-yel-<br />

low.<br />

First comes <strong>the</strong> health <strong>of</strong>ficer, anxious to<br />

obtain medical information, and constrained<br />

to answer volleys <strong>of</strong> questions from old<br />

Giles ; <strong>the</strong>n <strong>the</strong> naval <strong>of</strong>ficer <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> guard<br />

:<br />

;


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 249<br />

arrives in <strong>the</strong> guard boat <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Briton,<br />

a corvette on <strong>the</strong> East Indian station, an-<br />

chored <strong>of</strong>f Bombay, to give "general leave"<br />

to her ship's company ; <strong>the</strong>n arrive, in quiet<br />

succession, <strong>the</strong> deputy-assistant adjutant-<br />

general, <strong>the</strong> deputy-assistant quartermaster<br />

general, <strong>the</strong> deputy-assistant paymaster-<br />

general, <strong>the</strong> deputy-assistant anything-in-<br />

general, certainly nothing in particular, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> Lord knows who besides, all lashed up<br />

in spurs, long coats, and brass bound caps,<br />

and looking as if <strong>the</strong>y lived on split pegs,<br />

" Bombay ducks," and Eno's fruit salt.<br />

Monkton received some eight or ten <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>the</strong>se Bombay stafi' magnates, and also some<br />

six or eight Wallahs <strong>of</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r and more in-<br />

comprehensible Bombay growth, who, as-<br />

suming an air <strong>of</strong> mystic importance, and<br />

dressed in mystic uniforms, came in mys-<br />

terious boats, Hying mysterious Hags<br />

shrouded in impenetrable mystery, and<br />

<strong>the</strong> mystic status which <strong>the</strong>reunto belongs.<br />

With distant hauteur <strong>the</strong>y acknowledge <strong>the</strong><br />

;


250 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

inquisitive looks which were <strong>the</strong>ir due,<br />

<strong>the</strong>n clapping <strong>the</strong> backs <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> deputy-<br />

assistants aforementioned with familiar mys-<br />

tery, and announcing in mysterious tones,<br />

to all whom it might, or might not concern,<br />

^and apparently at <strong>the</strong> particular request,<br />

and on <strong>the</strong> personal authority <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> great<br />

Architect <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> universe,—that <strong>the</strong> " mon-<br />

soon would break early this 'yah,'" <strong>the</strong>se<br />

mysterious dissemblers departed; and not<br />

until a fervent, " Thank God ; <strong>the</strong> worst is<br />

over," reached him from <strong>the</strong> lips <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

adjutant, did it burst upon Monkton, with<br />

all <strong>the</strong> " extraordinary violence " <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong><br />

above-mentioned early monsoon, that to<br />

him it had been given to entertain <strong>the</strong><br />

" Bombay <strong>of</strong>ficial " unawares. He had even<br />

seen <strong>the</strong>m provided with <strong>the</strong>ir favourite<br />

meal,—not "Eno's," <strong>the</strong> o<strong>the</strong>r efiervescent<br />

fluid,— -but when a magnate, with a face <strong>of</strong><br />

melting bees-wax, and <strong>the</strong> outer man <strong>of</strong> a<br />

counter-jumper, ran his boat " bows on<br />

into <strong>the</strong> ship's side, and someone said that<br />

:<br />

"


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 251<br />

he was <strong>the</strong> acting-deputy-assistant-commis-<br />

sary-general, <strong>the</strong>n Monkton, wiping <strong>the</strong><br />

perspiration from his brow, murmured<br />

that he felt tired, and if Avanted urgently<br />

would be found on <strong>the</strong> poop, whi<strong>the</strong>r he<br />

at once repaired to concoct a scheme for<br />

tJie information <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Indian government,<br />

by which—with a judicious application <strong>of</strong><br />

hyphens—<strong>the</strong> entire staff <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> army in<br />

India might be reduced to, say, two boys<br />

and a man.<br />

Xot much chance <strong>of</strong> concoction on <strong>the</strong><br />

poop. Each deputy was surrounded by<br />

an admiring and curious throng, eager to<br />

know all about <strong>the</strong>ir movements in partic-<br />

ular, and India in general. Mrs. Stewart<br />

was looking disgusted, because <strong>the</strong> colonel,<br />

lier husband, had not been able to leave<br />

Agra to meet her ; t]ie ex-grass widoAV was<br />

grazing peacefully in her husband's pad-<br />

dock ; I should say, was " safe in <strong>the</strong> arms<br />

<strong>of</strong> her Eobert," once more—apparently<br />

somewhat to <strong>the</strong> relief <strong>of</strong> that recently


252 Churns :<br />

nourished viper, <strong>the</strong> long subaltern, who<br />

witnessed <strong>the</strong> loving reunion over <strong>the</strong> heads<br />

<strong>of</strong> some scores <strong>of</strong> his shipmates ; whilst a<br />

jabbering crowd <strong>of</strong> Avould-be " butlers,"<br />

" boys," and " dobashes " clamoured for<br />

engagement, and magnificently turbanned,<br />

largely plated Putti Wallahs from " Wat-<br />

son's," " <strong>the</strong> Byculla," " <strong>the</strong> Adelphe," etc.,<br />

salaamed pr<strong>of</strong>oundly, and noiselessly dis-<br />

posed <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> printed advantages <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

res])ective hotels.<br />

Winding his way slowly aft, Monkton<br />

suddenly found himself within a foot or<br />

two <strong>of</strong> Effie Stewart, who was gazing, with<br />

something <strong>of</strong> fear and a vastness <strong>of</strong> disgust<br />

at a more than usually undraped Hindoo.<br />

She blushed, as was her modest wont, when<br />

looked at ; and Monkton, observing a snake<br />

charmer and his meagre boy about to per-<br />

form near <strong>the</strong> Wheel House, took her <strong>of</strong>f<br />

to see <strong>the</strong> fun.<br />

" What dreadful looking men <strong>the</strong>y are !<br />

she whispered. " I never thought <strong>the</strong>y<br />

"


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 253<br />

would be so—so—that <strong>the</strong>y would have<br />

such few things on. They don't dress like<br />

men a bit^ and <strong>the</strong>y are so black ! Ugh!"<br />

Monkton laughed. "That's just it," said<br />

he. " It's black, so it doesn't matter.<br />

Think it's cloth."<br />

Effie smiled, and blushed a little more^<br />

<strong>the</strong>n shuddered, as a Putti Wallah thrust<br />

his black hand, holding a ticket, against<br />

<strong>the</strong> " Mem Sahib," as he supposed her.<br />

A good large group had collected around<br />

<strong>the</strong> snake charmer.<br />

" Seet down ! Sect down, Sah-habb !<br />

" he<br />

was vociferating, whilst preparing his apparatus.<br />

" Earn, Sammy ; come soon, Sahhabb<br />

; yaas, yaas ! Per-haps Eam Sammy<br />

come soon !<br />

" His assistant rattles <strong>the</strong><br />

wooden drum, whilst he lifts <strong>the</strong> lid <strong>of</strong> one<br />

<strong>of</strong> his snake baskets and occasionally blows<br />

his pipe. " Cobra ! cob-r-ra ! cob-r-ra !<br />

co-br-r-ra. Kir-rack I kir-r-rack ! kir-r-<br />

rack ! kir-r-rack !<br />

" The cobras lift <strong>the</strong>ir<br />

flat heads, peer suspiciously around, and


254 Chiim,s<br />

are once more thrust back, and shut into<br />

<strong>the</strong>ir basket. " Snake an' mongoose, he<br />

fight ! " continues <strong>the</strong> charmer.—Exhibition<br />

by meagre boy <strong>of</strong> ordinary snake and mongoose.—<br />

" Snake, he fat ; mongoose, he fat<br />

ver good, snake ; ver good, mongoose<br />

kir-r-r-ack ! kir-r-r-ack ! kir-r-r-ack ! kir-r-<br />

r-ack ! Sect down, sah-habb, seet down<br />

Makey grow mango tree ; yaas ! yaas !<br />

Yer good !<br />

One<br />

:<br />

rupee, sah-habb, one rupee,<br />

you givey? Makey grow big mango tree;<br />

fat mango, makey grow." And so on, and<br />

so on. His tricks—<strong>the</strong> ordinary Indian jug-<br />

gler's—were good, and <strong>the</strong> mongoose effec-<br />

tually settled <strong>the</strong> wriggle <strong>of</strong> any snakes<br />

that were brought to his notice. But poor<br />

Effie was melancholy, and would not be<br />

comforted. Meeting papa, <strong>the</strong> colonel,<br />

after <strong>the</strong>ir long separation, had no charms<br />

for her ; it would but serve to remind her<br />

<strong>of</strong> that o<strong>the</strong>r and longer separation which<br />

woidd commence to-day. Daiu tree, too, was<br />

uneasy. The impulsive <strong>of</strong>ficer mistrusted<br />

; ; !


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Qiieens <strong>Navy</strong>. 255<br />

his own powers <strong>of</strong> discretion and silence.<br />

That afternoon <strong>the</strong> soldiers disembarked,<br />

amidst lots <strong>of</strong> wishes for future meetings<br />

with " old ships." Miss Dutton had de-<br />

cided on staying at " Watson's," with <strong>the</strong><br />

Faulkner s, whilst <strong>the</strong> Tigris remained in<br />

harbour, and, if <strong>the</strong> necessary chaperone<br />

was forthcoming, going back to Portsmouth<br />

in her. The old doctor's remark at dinner<br />

last night<br />

—<br />

apropos <strong>of</strong> Daintree's wedding<br />

rings—to <strong>the</strong> effect that Miss Dutton had<br />

not much doubt as to what would become<br />

<strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong>m, was not far wronor. At all<br />

events, <strong>the</strong> young lady in question intended<br />

having ano<strong>the</strong>r try for it on <strong>the</strong> return<br />

journey.<br />

Mrs. Stewart and Effie started that same<br />

evening for Agra, Captain Braddon and<br />

Daintree in attendance to see <strong>the</strong>m <strong>of</strong>f.<br />

Poor little Effie was dreadfully dismal, and<br />

at that last supreme moment, Daintree<br />

might have pleased Mrs. S. by sa3nng<br />

*' something definite," from simple inability


256 <strong>Chums</strong><br />

to say " anything indefinite," had not a<br />

timely interruption occurred, in <strong>the</strong> form<br />

<strong>of</strong> a particularly robust, though ragged,<br />

native, who shuffled towards <strong>the</strong>m with<br />

both hands extended and both eyes closed.<br />

His tone was courteous, but <strong>of</strong> an intense<br />

sadness, as salaaming, reverently, he said,<br />

" I beg ten thousand pardons, Sahib, but<br />

me, only poor blindie man. Pa-pa, no got 1<br />

Ma-ma, no got. I only poorie man. Sahib,<br />

bless you,<br />

give me one pie ! God<br />

Sahib." The blessing was bestowed upon<br />

Daintree, who had handed him two annas,<br />

with a request to " Jao."<br />

"Ma-ma, no got! Sahib, give poor<br />

blindie man two annas." This modest re-<br />

quest was addressed to Captain Braddon,<br />

who did not give two annas, but who echoed<br />

Daintree's " Jao," and gave <strong>the</strong> " poor<br />

blindie man'' material assistance in a ra<strong>the</strong>r<br />

quick and involuntary passage to <strong>the</strong><br />

nearest wall.<br />

Arrived <strong>the</strong>re, <strong>the</strong> unfortunate orphan


A Tale <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> Queens <strong>Navy</strong>. 257<br />

squatted down against it, opened his eyes,<br />

smiled pleasantly, and commenced to chew<br />

betel nut. After this, what chance for<br />

sentiment ? The train rushed merrily out<br />

with certainly two fair passengers, and <strong>the</strong><br />

captain and Daintree took a buggy to <strong>the</strong><br />

Byculla Club. A generous man, <strong>the</strong> latter<br />

Just as <strong>the</strong>y were starting from <strong>the</strong> station<br />

he said, " Oh. hold on a minute, sir ; I've<br />

forgotten something," and ran back to <strong>the</strong><br />

wall to gladden <strong>the</strong> heart and eventually,<br />

<strong>the</strong> stomach <strong>of</strong> that mourning pa -pa and<br />

ma-ma loser with a whole rupee. A gener-<br />

ous man, but an eccentric ; for why should<br />

he single out that impostor as a fitting<br />

object for alms ? Above all, why smile<br />

upon that bereaved Hindoo, and pause<br />

awhile to slap him on his low caste back,<br />

and exclaim, gaily, " By Jove, old fellow,<br />

near as a toucher ! Thought I was in for<br />

it. You were a regular God-send !" Echo<br />

answers, why ? The Hindoo didn't, because<br />

he was unversed in more <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> English<br />

VOL. II. s<br />

!


258 <strong>Chums</strong>.<br />

language than was necessary to explain his<br />

bhnd and desolate condition. But he smiled<br />

and salaamed, and said that he was " only<br />

a poorie man," and would Sahib give him<br />

one rupee ? Such is gratitude ; such, gener-<br />

osity ; such, eccentricity. Still, Daintree<br />

repined not. If anything, he was easier<br />

*****<br />

in his mind than during <strong>the</strong> early part<br />

that last day.<br />

<strong>of</strong><br />

H.M.S. Tigris will probably remain for<br />

several weeks at Bombay, and we may as<br />

well look in again at Westfield, Sussex.<br />

END OF VOL. II.


UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA<br />

3 0112 04 678266

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